South Carolina's Flagship University

Regulatory Pathfinder
for Coastal Development in South Carolina

NWP #33: Temporary Construction, Access and Dewatering

Under this federal nationwide permit issued pursuant to Clean Water Act Section 404(e), you may be authorized to construct temporary structures, and engage in associated work and discharges, including cofferdams, when such activities are necessary for certain limited construction activities, access fills or dewatering of construction sites. Such a streamlined permit is only available if the associated primary activity is authorized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) or the U.S. Coast Guard, or is for a construction activity not subject to Corps or U.S. Coast Guard regulations.

To be authorized by this permit, all General and Regional conditions must be fulfilled, in addition to those listed on this particular page. Furthermore, all state and any local regulations must also be met. If you are considering such an activity, you should read the information on NWPs that can be found here and information on what should be included to ensure your application is complete. You might also want to consult with the Corps District Office.

To be authorized under this permit the following specific requirements must be fulfilled with respect to your particular activity:

  1. Appropriate measures must be taken to maintain normal or near-normal downstream flows and to minimize flooding;
  2. Any fill you use must be made of materials that will not be eroded by expected high flows. The fill must also be placed in a manner that also will not be eroded by expected high flows;
  3. Dredged materials may be used if the District Engineer determines it will not cause more than minimal adverse effects on aquatic resources;
  4. Upon completion of the construction activity temporary fill must be entirely removed to upland areas or dredged material has to be returned to its original location and affected areas have to be restored to pre-project conditions;
  5. Cofferdams must not be used to change the use of wetlands or special aquatic areas through dewatering;
  6. If a structure is left in place in navigable waters of the U.S. after a cofferdam is removed, the structure will require a separate Section 10 permit;
  7. The District Engineer must be notified in accordance with general conditions set forth in the NWPs and must include a restoration plan of reasonable measures that will avoid and minimize adverse effects to aquatic resources. The District Engineer may add special conditions if necessary to minimize adverse environmental effects. These conditions may include: limiting the temporary work to the minimum necessary; seasonal restrictions; modifying the restoration plan; and/or, requiring alternative construction methods.

Last Updated October 29, 2010


This project was supported through a generous grant from the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium. The principal investigator is Professor Kim Diana Connolly at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Two law students, Keith Bartlett and Valerie Cochran, provided invaluable work toward project completion. Technical assistance with web design was provided by USC School of Law webmaster Tobias Brasier. Broken links should be reported to lawweb@law.sc.edu. This website is NOT intended as legal advice, and particularized analysis by professionals should be sought wherever appropriate.