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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Water Quality - Buffer Authorizations and Variances

Water Quality

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401 & Buffer Permitting Unit

Buffer Authorizations and Variances 

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Buffer Authorization Application

Please use the following for projects seeking approval for activities within protected riparian buffers that do not impact surface waters (streams, wetlands or open waters).

Buffer Authorization Application Form  (new September 2013)
Buffer Authorization Application Help Document  (new September 2013)

For those projects that do have impacts to surface waters (streams, wetlands or open waters), please use the PCN form.

Variance Applications

Major and Minor Variance Application Form (for all Basins/Watersheds)  (updated October 1, 2013)

Major and Minor Variance Help Document (for all Basins/Watersheds)  (updated October 1, 2013)

Minor Variances - To request a minor variance, you must submit a complete variance application package to the Central Office (1650 MSC, Raleigh, NC 27699-1650).  Minor variance are reviewed and processed by the Division.  Click here for staff contacts. 

Major Variances - To request that your proposed major variance be presented at the next Water Quality Committee (WQC) meeting, you must submit a complete variance application package to the Central Office (1650 MSC, Raleigh, NC 27699-1650) at least sixty (60) days prior to the WQC meeting date. To view the WQC meeting dates, click on this link: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/emc. Please note that we cannot guarantee the proposed major variance will be presented at the next WQC meeting.

WQC Meeting Date Complete Application Package Submittal Date
January 8, 2014 November 9, 2013
March 12, 2014 January 10, 2014
May 7, 2014 March 7, 2014
July 9, 2014 May 9, 2014
September 10, 2014 July 11, 2014
November 12, 2014 September 12, 2014

For any questions on the major variance process, please contact Jennifer Burdette, DWR's 401/Buffer Coordinator, at 919-807-6364 or jennifer.burdette@ncdenr.gov. For information regarding scheduling a major variance request submittal meeting, including how to schedule a meeting and what is necessary to bring to the meeting, please click here. To complete the online submittal meeting request form, please click here.

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