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GENERAL CONSTRUCTION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Storm Water Program

Historical Information

Historical Information

General Construction - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I know if I need this permit?
    Construction activity resulting in a land disturbance of one acre or more, or less than one acre but part of a larger common plan of development or sale must obtain the Construction Activities Storm Water General Permit (General Permit).  Construction activity includes clearing, grading, excavation, stockpiling, and reconstruction of existing facilities involving removal and replacement.  Construction activity does not include routine maintenance such as, maintenance of original line and grade, hydraulic capacity, or original purpose of the facility.

    Storm water discharges in the Lake Tahoe Hydrologic Unit and the San Jacinto Watershed are regulated by a separate construction permit(s) adopted by the respective California Regional Water Quality Control Board, and may not seek coverage under the State Water Resources Control Board's General Permit.  Storm water discharges associated with construction activity on Indian lands will be regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

  2. Are there other requirements I should be aware of when applying for this permit?
    Owners of new construction must file a complete Notice of Intent (NOI) package and develop a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) in accordance with Section A of the General Permit prior to the commencement of soil disturbing activities.  A Waste Discharger Identification (WDID) number will be issued to within 10 business days after the State Water Board receives a complete NOI package (original signed NOI, vicinity map, and check).

    There may be other permits or requirements in addition to the General Permit.  For example, you may also need a streambed alteration agreement from the Department of Fish and Game, a Water Quality Certification (Clean Water Act Section 401) as administered by the State and Regional Water Quality Control Boards, and/or Clean Water Act Section 404 permit administered by the U. S. Army Corp. of Engineers.  Contact the appropriate Regional Water Quality Control Board to determine if other permits are required for your construction activity.

  3. Who should apply, and who is the proper signatory?
    The General Permit currently states the owner of the land where the construction activity is occurring is responsible for obtaining a permit and for signing the certification statement on the Notice of Intent (NOI).  Language in Section C 9: "Signatory Requirements" allows a duly authorized representative to sign documents including the NOI.

    Permit coverage for construction activity conducted on easements (e.g., linear construction projects), on nearby properties by agreement or permission, or by an owner or lessee of a mineral estate (oil, gas, geothermal, aggregate, precious metals, and/or industrial minerals) shall be obtained by the entity responsible for the construction activity, and not by the landowner. In the cases listed above, the same responsible entity would be considered the proper signatory.  For further information concerning filing a NOI for linear construction projects, see the Frequently Asked Questions Associated with Linear Construction Activity.

  4. What are the fees associated with the Permit?
    The current fee is based on total size of the construction project in acres. See Construction fees for a list of fees by acres.  You will continue to receive an annual invoice until your project is complete and a Notice of Termination submitted and approved by the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

  5. Who do I contact for questions regarding an invoice?
    If you have questions regarding outstanding invoices or payments please contact our Fee Unit at
    (916) 341-5247.

  6. Where do I send the Notice of Intent (NOI) application?
    Mail a complete NOI package including: the original signed NOI, site map, and appropriate fee to the State Water Resources Control Board at the following address:

    Regular Mail:

    State Water Resources Control Board
    Division of Water Quality
    Attn: Storm Water Section
    PO Box 1977
    Sacramento, CA 95812-1977

    Fed Ex or other overnight mail:

    State Water Resources Control Board
    Division of Water Quality
    Attn: Storm Water Section
    1001 I Street
    Sacramento, CA 95814

  1. How can I find out the status of my permit?
    You can download or search the construction storm water database on the Storm Water Program Database web page.

  2. How long is my permit in effect?
    Your coverage under the General Permit remains in effect until a Notice of Termination (NOT) is submitted and approved by the Regional Water Board.  Once the appropriate Regional Water Board approves the NOT and informs the State Water Board, the permit is terminated and the annual fees no longer accrue.  A letter is sent to the discharger by the State Water Board confirming the permit is terminated in the database.  If the Regional Water Board denies the NOT, you are responsible for any missed or outstanding invoices prior to filing the NOT.

  3. Can I terminate or sell a portion of my project?
    Yes, the current permit allows a discharger to terminate portions of a construction project if those portions have been sold to another owner.  The permit is not transferable, so the responsibility to obtain permit coverage, update the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), and comply with permit requirements becomes that of the new owner.  The seller must notify the new owner about his/her responsibilities concerning the permit, and must notify the State Water Board by submitting the new owner's name, address, and phone number on the Change of Information (COI) form for the termination to be processed.  The seller must also disclose the state of construction, primarily if construction activity is ongoing, or if the post-construction requirements are completed.  The State Water Board sends a letter to the new owner, including a permit packet.

  4. What if I sell the property prior to completing the construction?
    The new owner must submit a new Notice of Intent (NOI) package within 30 days of the date of change of ownership. For ongoing construction activity involving a change of ownership, the new owner must review the existing Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), determine if it is appropriate for the construction activity being undertaken, and if it is in compliance with Section A of the current Permit.  If it is not in compliance, then the SWPPP must be amended, or a new SWPPP developed, within 45-calendar days.

  5. Who should I contact if I have questions?
    If you have any questions concerning the General Permit please email us at stormwater@waterboards.ca.gov or call (916) 341-5537.

  6. Are there any new modifications to the General Permit?
    On April 26, 2001 the State Water Resources Control Board adopted modifications to the General Permit.  These modifications are in response to a court judgment and writ of mandate filed by the BayKeepers. You can download a copy of the adopted language. The Court directed the State Water Board to modify the provisions of the General Permit to require permittees to implement specific sampling and analytical procedures to determine whether Best Management Practices (BMPs) implemented on a construction site are: (1) preventing further impairment by sediment in storm waters discharged directly into waters listed as impaired for sediment or silt, and (2) preventing other pollutants, that are known or should be known by permittees to occur on construction sites and that are not visually detectable in storm water discharges, from causing or contributing to exceedences of water quality objectives.