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"Waters of the United States" Definition

December 11, 2018 - EPA and Army Propose New "Waters of the United States" Definition

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army have proposed a new definition of "waters of the United States" that clarifies federal authority under the Clean Water Act.  The agencies' proposal is the second step in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of "waters of the United States" consistent with the February 2017 Presidential Executive Order entitled "Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the 'Waters of the United States' Rule." 

The agencies will take comment on the proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

EPA and the Army will also hold an informational webcast on January 10, 2019, and will host a listening session on the proposed rule in Kansas City, KS, on January 23, 2019. 

More information including a pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice, the supporting analyses and fact sheets are available at: and

Contact Information

Need assistance? 

Contact us by email, or at the following office locations:

Regulatory Division (CT, MA, NH, RI)
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
New England District
696 Virginia Road
Concord, MA 01742-2751

Maine Project Office
442 Civic Center Drive
Suite 350
Augusta, ME 04330

Vermont Project Office
11 Lincoln Street, Room 210
Essex Junction, VT 05452

- Updated July 27, 2018

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Regulatory/Permitting Division


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) regulates construction and other work in navigable waterways under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, and has authority over the discharge of dredged or fill material into "waters of the United States" (a term which includes wetlands and all other aquatic areas) under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.  Under these laws, those who seek to carry out such work must first receive a permit from the Corps.  The program considers the full public interest by balancing the favorable impacts against the detrimental impacts.  This is known as the “public interest review.”  The program reflects the national concerns for both the protection and utilization of important resources.

At the New England District, we have issued regional general permits for certain activities with no more than minimal adverse effects on the aquatic environment.  These permits reduce delays and paperwork and allow the Corps to devote its resources to the most significant cases.  Activities not eligible for authorization under a general permit require an Individual Permit, in which case the permit evaluation process includes a public notice with a public comment period. 

Project proponents are encouraged to contact the Corps with questions at any time.  Pre-application meetings are encouraged to facilitate the review of projects.

- Updated: 26 December 2017

General Permits

Use of Nationwide Permits have been suspended in New England and replaced with general permits.