Stormwater and the Construction Industry
Planning and Implementing Erosion and Sediment Control Practices
4. Certification and Notification
Certify the Plan
Submit permit application or notice of intent
Once the Plan has been developed, an authorized re presentative must sign
it. Now is the time to submit the permit application or notice of intent.
Your permit might require that the Plan be kept on site, so be sure to keep
it available for the staff implementing the Plan.
5. Implementing and
Maintaining a Plan
Implement controls
Inspect and maintain controls
Update/change the Plan
Report releases of hazardous materials
A Plan describes the practices and activities you’ll use to prevent
stormwater contamination and meet the NPDES permit requirements.
Make sure that the Plan is implemented and that the Plan is updated as
necessary to reflect changes on the site.
Erosion and sedimentation control practices are only as good as their
installation and maintenance. Train the contractors that will install
the BMPs and inspect immediately to ensure that the BMPs have been
installed correctly.
Regularly inspect the BMPs (especially before and after rain events) and
perform any necessary repairs or maintenance immediately. Many BMPs
are designed to handle a limited amount of sediment. If not maintained,
they’ll become ineffective and a source of sediment pollution.
It’s also important to keep records of BMP installation, imple mentation,
and maintenance. Keep track of major grading activities that occur on the
site, when construction activities cease (temporarily or permanently), and
when a site is temporarily or permanently stabilized.
If construction plans change at any time, or if more appropriate BMPs are
chosen for the site, update the Plan accordingly.
6. Completing the Project:
Final Stabilization and
Termination of the Per mit
Final stabilization
Notice of Termination
Record retention
Many states and EPA require a Notice of Termination (NOT) or other
notification signifying that the construction activity is completed. An
NOT is required when
Final stabilization has been achieved on all portions of the site
for which the permittee is responsible.
Another operator has assumed control over all areas of the site
that have not been finally stabilized. That operator would need
to submit a new permit application to the permitting authority.
For residential construction only, temporary stabilization of a
lot has been completed prior to transference of ownership to the
homeowner, with the homeowner being made aware of the need
to perform final stabilization.
Permittees must keep a copy of their permit application and their Plan
for at least 3 years following final stabilization. This period may be longer
depending on state and local requirements.
So what’s being done about polluted runoff?
The Clean Water Act includes the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program.
As of January 2003, 44 states and territories are authorized to issue NPDES stormwater permits. If your state isn’t
authorized to operate the NPDES stormwater permit program, EPA issues the permits. Permits vary from state to
state, so contact your state or EPA for specific information. Your permitting authority has specific information on
your state’s NPDES stormwater permit program. In general, construction permits require construction operators
to do all of the following:
Develop and implement a stormwater pollution prevention plan
Submit a permit application or notice of intent (NOI)
Comply with the permit, including maintaining BMPs and inspecting the site
Under the NPDES program, construction activities that disturb 1 or more acres are required to obtain stormwater
permit coverage. States have different names for the plans that construction operators must develop, such as
Stormwater pollution prevention plan
Erosion and sediment control plan
Erosion control and stormwater management plan
Stormwater management plan
Water pollution control plan
Pollution prevention plan
This document uses the term “Plan.”
I think I need a permit… Where do I start?
All land-disturbing activities, including clearing, grading, and excavation, that disturb 1 or more acres are required
to be covered under a state or EPA-issued NPDES construction stormwater permit prior to land disturbance. Permit
requirements vary by state. Begin by researching the specific requirements in your state. You might already be subject
to local erosion and sediment control requirements, but that doesn’t release you from the requirements of the NPDES
program at the state or EPA level. Although you must comply with both sets of requirements, in most cases they have
been designed to be complementary. Contact your permitting authority to find out exactly what you need to do. A good
place to start your search is the Construction Industry Compliance Assistance web site at
The NPDES permit requirements include small construction activities that are part of a larger common plan of
development or sale, such as a single lot within a larger subdivision. For developments with multiple operators, all
operators must have permit coverage for their individual parts of the larger development, no matter how large or
small each operation happens to be. When there are multiple operators at one site, they’re encouraged to develop
and share one comprehensive Plan and obtain permit coverage as co-permitees.
The owner or operator of the construction site is responsible for complying
with the requirements of the permit. Responsibilities include developing a Plan,
obtaining permit coverage, implementing BMPs, and stabilizing the site at the
end of the construction activity.
Determine your eligibility
All construction activity that disturbs 1 or more acres of land, as well as activity that disturbs less than 1 acre but is
part of a larger common plan of development, must obtain permit coverage.
Read and understand your stormwater permit requirements
Get a copy of the permit for construction activities and a permit application (or notice of intent form) from your
state or EPA permitting authority.
Develop a Plan
Most states do not require you to submit your Plan. However, you do need to keep the Plan on site. If that’s
impractical, you may post a notice that tells where the Plan is kept so it can be accessed by the permitting authority
and other interested parties.
You’ll need to post a copy of your completed application on site. Put it in a place where the public can see it so
they’ll know your site is covered by an NPDES permit!
Apply for permit coverage
Once you understand your permit requirements and have developed a Plan, you can submit a stormwater permit
application (or notice of intent) to your permitting authority. This must be done before beginning any land
disturbance on the site. Some states require a few days of lead time, so check with your permitting authority. Once
you’ve submitted the application, you must satisfy the conditions of the permit.
Implement the Plan
Be prepared to implement the BMPs in your Plan before construction begins. Ensure that BMPs are properly
maintained, and upgrade and repair them as necessary.
Preconstruction Checklist
A site description, including
Nature of the activity
Intended sequence of major construction activities
Total area of the site
Existing soil type and rainfall runoff data
A site map with:
} Drainage patterns
} Approximate slopes after major grading
} Area of soil disturbance
} Outline of areas which will not be disturbed
} Location of major structural and nonstructural soil erosion
} Areas where stabilization practices are expected to occur
} Surface waters
} Stormwater discharge locations
Name of the receiving water(s)
A description of controls:
Erosion and sediment controls, including
} Stabilization practices for all areas disturbed by construction
} Structural practices for all drainage/discharge locations
Stormwater management controls, including
} Measures used to control pollutants occurring in stormwater
discharges after construction activities are complete
} Velocity dissipation devices to provide nonerosive flow conditions
from the discharge point along the length of any outfall channel
Other controls, including
} Waste disposal practices that prevent discharge of solid materials
} Measures to minimize offset tracking of sediments by construction
} Measures to ensure compliance with state or local waste disposal,
sanitary sewer, or septic system regulations
Description of the timing during the construction when measures will
be implemented
State or local requirements incorporated into the Plan
Inspection and maintenance procedures for control measures identified in
the Plan
Contractor certification and Plan certification
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! It’s far more efficient and cost-
effective to prevent pollution than it is to try to correct problems later. Installing and
maintaining simple BMPs and pollution prevention techniques on site can greatly
reduce the potential for stormwater pollution and can also save you money!
Developing and Implementing a Plan
You must have a Plan that includes erosion and sediment control and pollution prevention BMPs. These Plans require
Advance planning and training to ensure proper implementation of the BMPs
Erosion and sediment control BMPs in place until the area is permanently stabilized
Pollution prevention BMPs to keep the construction site “clean
Regular inspection of the construction site to ensure proper installation and maintenance of BMPs
Fortunately, the practices and measures that must be included in your Plan are already part of the standard operating procedures at many construction sites.
Six steps are associated with developing and implementing a stormwater Plan. There’s a wealth of information available on developing pollution
prevention plans. Please contact your permitting authority for help in finding additional guidance materials, or visit
sample construction plan is available at
1. Site Evaluation and Design Development
Collect site information
Develop site plan design
Prepare pollution prevention site map
The first step in preparing a Plan is to define the characteristics of the site and the type of construction that will occur. This involves collecting site
information, identifying natural features that should be protected, developing a site plan design, describing the nature of the construction activity, and
preparing a pollution prevention site map.
2. Assessment
Measure the site area
Determine the drainage areas
Calculate the runoff coefficient
The next step is assessing the impact the project will have on stormwater runoff. Determine the drainage areas and estimate the runoff amounts and
velocities. For more information on calculatng the runoff coefficient, go to, page 11.
3. Control Selection and Plan Design
Review and incorporate state or local requirements
Select erosion and sediment controls
Select other controls
Select stormwater management controls
Indicate the location of controls on the site map
Prepare an inspection and maintenance plan
Coordinate controls with construction activity
Prepare sequence of major activities
In the third step you’ll actually document your procedures to prevent and control polluted stormwater runoff. You must delineate areas that will not be
disturbed, including critical natural areas like streamside areas, floodplains, and trees. You must also identify the measures (or BMPs) you’ll use to protect
these areas.
Phasing your project to minimize the amount of exposed
soil at any given time is a highly effective way to prevent
erosion. Erosion control measures designed to prevent
soil from being mobilized include diversions to route
stormwater away from exposed soils and stabilization
with vegetation, mulch, and geotextiles. Sedimentation
control measures designed to remove sediment from
stormwater or prevent it from leaving the site include
silt fences, sediment traps, and diversions.
You’ll need to select erosion and sediment controls—
including stabilization measures for protecting dis-
turbed areas and structural controls for diverting run-
off and removing sediment—that are appropriate for
your particular site. The appropriateness of the control
measures will depend on several factors, but will be
influenced most directly by the site characteristics.
Some stabilization measures you might consider are
temporary seeding, permanent seeding, and mulching.
Structural control measures include earth dikes, silt
fences, and sediment traps. No single BMP will meet
all of the erosion and sedimentation control needs of a
construction site. A combination of BMPs is necessary.
For more information on the types of BMPs appropri-
ate for your construction site, see the BMP fact sheet
series available at
Soil erosion control tips…
Design the site to infiltrate stormwater into the ground and to keep it out of storm drains. Eliminate
or minimize the use of stormwater collection and conveyance systems while maximizing the use of
stormwater infiltration and bioretention techniques.
Minimize the amount of exposed soil on site.
To the extent possible, plan the project in stages to minimize the amount of area that is bare and
subject to erosion. The less soil exposed, the easier and cheaper it will be to control erosion.
Vegetate disturbed areas with permanent or temporary seeding immediately upon reaching final
Vegetate or cover stockpiles that will not be used immediately.
Reduce the velocity of stormwater both onto and away from the project area.
Interceptors, diversions, vegetated buffers, and check dams are a few of the BMPs that can be used
to slow down stormwater as it travels across and away from the project site.
Diversion measures can also be used to direct flow away from exposed areas toward stable
portions of the site.
Silt fences and other types of perimeter filters should never be used to reduce the velocity of
Protect defined channels immediately with measures adequate to handle the storm flows expected.
Sod, geotextile, natural fiber, riprap, or other stabilization measures should be used to allow the
channels to carry water without causing erosion. Use softer measures like geotextile or vegetation
where possible to prevent downstream impacts.
Keep sediment on site.
Place aggregate or stone at construction site vehicle exits to accommodate at least two tire
revolutions of large construction vehicles. Much of the dirt on the tires will fall off before the
vehicle gets to the street.
Regular street sweeping at the construction entrance will prevent dirt from entering storm drains.
Do not hose paved areas.
Sediment traps and basins are temporary structures and should be used in conjunction with other
measures to reduce the amount of erosion.
Maintaining all BMPs is critical to ensure their effectiveness during the life of the project.
Regularily remove collected sediment from silt fences, berms, traps, and other BMPs.
Ensure that geotextiles and mulch remain in place until vegetation is well established.
Maintain fences that protect sensitive areas, silt fences, diversion structures, and other BMPs.
Other BMPs and Activities to Control Polluted Runoff
You’ll need to select other controls to address potential pollutant sources on your site. Construction materials, debris, trash, fuel, paint, and stockpiles become pollution
sources when it rains. Basic pollution prevention practices can significantly reduce the amount of pollution leaving construction sites. The following are some simple
practices that should be included in the Plan and implemented on site:
Keep potential sources of pollution out of the rain as practicable (e.g., inside a building, covered with plastic or tarps, or sealed tightly in a leak-proof container).
Clearly identify a protected, lined area for concrete truck washouts. This area should be located away from streams, storm drain inlets, or ditches and should be cleaned
out periodically.
Park, refuel, and maintain vehicles and equipment in one area of the site to minimize the area exposed to possible spills and fuel storage. This area should be well away
from streams, storm drain inlets, or ditches. Keep spill kits close by and clean up any spills or leaks immediately, including spills on pavement or earthen surfaces.
Practice good housekeeping. Keep the construction site free of litter, construction debris, and leaking containers. Keep all waste in one area to minimize cleaning.
Never hose down paved surfaces to clean dust, debris, or trash. This water could wash directly into storm drains or streams. Sweep up materials and dispose of them in
the trash. Never bury trash or debris!
Dispose of hazardous materials properly.
Erosion and
sedimentation control
practices are only
as good as their
installation and
Best Management Practice (BMP)
A BMP is a method used to prevent or control stormwater runoff and the discharge of pollutants, including sediment, into
local waterbodies. Silt fences, inlet protection, and site-stabilization techniques are typical BMPs on a construction site.
An operator is someone who has control over and the ability to modify construction plans and specifications (e.g. owner,
general contractor)
Someone who has control over the day-to-day operations at a site (e.g., owner, general contractor) that are necessary
to ensure compliance with the permit requirements. It is the responsibility of a construction site owner or operator to
contain stormwater runoff and prevent erosion during all stages of a project.
There may be more than one person at a site who meets these definitions and must apply for permit coverage. (States
may have different definitions of the term “operator.”)
Implementation Checklist
Maintain records of construction activities, including
Dates when major grading activities occur
Dates when construction activities temporarily cease on the site or
a portion of the site
Dates when construction activities permanently cease on the site or a
portion of the site
Dates when stabilization measures are completed on the site
Prepare inspection reports summarizing
Name of person conducting BMP inspections
Qualifications of person conducting BMP inspections
BMPs/areas inspected
Observed conditions
Necessary changes to the Plan
Report releases of reportable quantities of oil or hazardous materials
Notify the National Response Center at 800-424-8802 immediately
Report releases to your permitting authority immediately, or as
specified in your permit. You must also provide a written report
within 14 days.
Modify the Plan to include
The date of release
Circumstances leading to the release
Steps taken to prevent reoccurrence of the release
Modify Plan as necessary
Incorporate requests of the permitting authority to bring the Plan into
Address changes in design, construction operation, or maintenance
that affect the potential for discharge of pollutants
Visit for more information.
EPA 833-H-03-001
April 2003
Printed with vegetable-based ink on paper that contains a
minimum of 50% post-consumer fiber content processed chlorine-free.
he construction industry is a critical participant in the nation’s efforts to protect streams, rivers, lakes,
wetlands, and oceans. Through the use of best management practices (BMPs), construction site operators are
the key defense against erosion and sedimentation.
As stormwater flows over a construction site, it picks up pollutants like sediment, debris, and chemicals. High
volumes of stormwater can also cause stream bank erosion, and destroy downstream aquatic habitat. Preventing soil
erosion and sedimentation is an important responsibility at all construction sites.
In addition to the environmental impact, uncontrolled erosion can have a significant financial impact on a
construction project. It costs money and time to repair gullies, replace vegetation, clean sediment-clogged storm
drains, replace poorly installed BMPs, and mitigate damage to other people’s property or to natural resources.
Construction sites that discharge
unpermitted stormwater are in
violation of the Clean Water Act
and may be subject to fines of up
to $27,500 a day per violation.
Contact name and agency
Contact phone and e-mail
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