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Stormwater Program for Construction Activity: Steps to Construction

Owners/operators of construction activity must complete several steps before completing a permit application and beginning construction. These steps also help owners/operators determine their eligibility for coverage under the general permit.

If you have comments, feedback and/or questions, please see the list of construction stormwater program contacts.

Step 1. Identify the construction site boundaries, the latitude and longitude for the centroid of the site, and the major phases of the project

Where will the construction occur and what will the project involve? Identifying the construction site boundaries is important to determining which environmental resources may be at risk of being impacted by the project. Identify opportunities to phase the project so that vegetation will remain in those areas that will not have construction activity at the start of the project. Construction phasing can minimize or eliminate negative environmental impacts from the project.

The latitude and longitude can be obtained with Bing Maps during the online application process, a GPS unit, using a USGS topographic map (provide scale), or at the following Web sites: EPA Facility Siting Tool or Map Coordinates Finder. For more information, read PDF Document How to Determine Latitude and Longitude.

Step 2. Determine if additional permits are needed

Contact other state and federal agencies and local units of government to determine what permits are required in addition to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and State Disposal System (SDS) permit issued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).

Step 3. Determine if Environmental Review is needed

Contact the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board, the appropriate state agency or local unit of government to determine if the proposed project meets or exceeds the thresholds outlined in the state environmental review rules (MN. Rules Chapter 4410.) Development of an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) may be required for the project prior to the issuance of any permits and before construction activity can begin.

Step 4. Understand the requirements of the NPDES/SDS general stormwater permit for construction activity

The general stormwater permit for construction activity contains many requirements that must be considered during the planning phase of a construction project. Decisions made during planning may make the difference between the project requiring a more onerous individual permit instead of the general permit. 

Step 5. Identify waters that have the potential to receive a discharge of stormwater runoff or discharge from a permanent stormwater management system

  1. Are "Special Waters," as identified in Appendix A of the General Stormwater Permit for Construction Activity (MNR100001), located within one mile of the construction site? Use the Special Waters Search map system or the Special Waters Document and a quad map to identify your construction site and prepare a list of all the special waters located within one mile of the site boundary.
    • Special Waters Search: This is an electronic map tool using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. Find the construction site location, draw the site boundaries and create a list of special waters. (Note: This is best viewed using Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher or Netscape 6.0 or higher, with pop-up blockers disabled and screen resolution set to 1024x768 or higher.)
    • PDF Document Special Waters Document
  2. Are "Impaired Waters," as identified in appendix A, where the identified pollutant(s) or stressor(s) are phosphorus, turbidity, dissolved oxygen or biotic impairment listed under section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act, within 1 mile of the construction site? Use the Special Waters Search or the current TMDL list of impaired waters and a quad map to identify your construction site and prepare a list of all the impaired waters located within one mile of the site boundary.
  3. Do the impaired waters identified in Appendix A have an approved total maximum daily load (TMDL) implementation plan containing requirements for construction stormwater discharges? If so, the TMDL implementation plan must be incorporated in the project StormWater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).
  4. Do other waters located within one mile of the construction site boundaries have the potential of receiving a discharge from the site?  These waters must be listed on the permit application.
    • Special Waters Search
      This is an electronic map tool using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. Find the construction site location, draw the site boundaries and create a list of other waters.
      Note: This is best viewed using Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher or Netscape 6.0 or higher, with pop-up blockers disabled and screen resolution set to 1024x768 or higher.
    • Use a United States Geological Survey (USGS) 7.5 minute quad map or equivalent to identify waters other than those identified in A and B above. USGS maps are available at the following Web sites:

Step 6. Determine if discharges from construction site will impact other protected resources

The following list identifies protected resources in Minnesota.

  1. Listed endangered or threatened species or a designated critical habitat. Contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, Midwest.Exit MPCA's Web site
  2. Minnesota listed endangered, threatened and special concern species. To obtain a list of these species in the site that you are going to be disturbing, submit a PDF Document NHIS Data Request form with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Division of Ecological Resources.Exit MPCA's Web site
  3. Properties listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places or known or discovered archeological sites.
  4. MPCA Calcareous fens. Calcareous fens are a very rare and unique type of wetland that can contain a number of rare wetland plant species. These fens are dependent upon water chemistry and hydrologic conditions. Minnesota rules protect these unique and fragile wetland resources. If runoff from the site discharges to a calcareous fen as listed in Minn. R. 7050.0180, subp. 6.b., additional permit requirements apply. Use the Special Waters Search and quad map to identify your construction site and prepare a list of all the calcareous fens that have the potential to be impacted by discharges from the site.
    • Special Waters Search: This is an electronic map tool using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. Use this tool to identify your construction site and prepare a list of all the calcareous fens that have the potential to be impacted by discharges from the site. (Note: This is best viewed using Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher or Netscape 6.0 or higher, with pop-up blockers disabled and screen resolution set to 1024x768 or higher.)
  5. DNR Calcareous Fens. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) works closely with counties and citizens to identify sensitive and rare habitat resources. Calcareous fens identified through these efforts are compiled on the DNR List of Known Calcareous Fen Sites. The DNR Calcareous Fens are fens that appear on this list but are not yet listed by the MPCA as Outstanding Resource Value Waters. Construction that results in a discharge to this category of fen is covered under the general NPDES/SDS Construction Stormwater Permit, but must also meet the Wetland Conservation Act and wetland protection rules administered by the DNR.
    • Special Waters Search
      This is an electronic map tool using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. Use this tool to identify your construction site and prepare a list of all the calcareous fens that have the potential to be impacted by discharges from the site. Calcareous fens are identified on the Special Waters Search by the section in which the fen is located.
      Note: This is best viewed using Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher or Netscape 6.0 or higher, with pop-up blockers disabled and screen resolution set to 1024x768 or higher.
    • For a more detailed location, see List of Known Calcareous Fen Sites or
    • Contact the appropriate DNR Regional Hydrologists:
      • Northwest Region (Becker, Beltrami, Cass, Clay, Clearwater, Douglas, Grant, Hubbard, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Polk, Pope, Red Lake, Roseau, Stevens, Traverse, Todd, Wadena and Wilkin counties) Larry Kramka 218-755-3973.
      • Northeast Region (Aitkin, Carlton , Cook, Crow Wing, Itasca , Koochiching, Lake , Pine and St. Louis counties) Dan Retka 218-327-4416.
      • Central Region (Anoka, Benton, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne, Stearns, Washington and Wright counties) Dale Homuth 651-772-7910.
      • Southern Region (Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Dodge, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Le Sueur, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, McLeod, Meeker, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Olmsted, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Rice, Rock, Sibley, Steele, Swift, Wabasha, Waseca, Watonwan, Winona and Yellow Medicine counties) Dave Leuthe 507-359-6053.
  6. For more information on the Wetland Conservation Act requirements, contact the Board of Water and Soil ConservationExit to Web 651-296-3767.
  7. DNR permits and the Wetland Conservation Act informationExit to Web

Step 7. Prepare a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)

Develop a SWPPP following the requirements of the permit. All waters located within one mile (aerial radius measurement) of the construction site that have the potential to receive a discharge from the site must be identified on the site map component of the SWPPP. Be sure to include any additional requirements needed for discharges to special waters.

Step 8. Identify discharges

Check waters list in Steps 5A-C and 6C to determine which special waters, impaired waters and calcareous fens have a potential to receive a discharge after considering water flow and modifications to the construction plans made for the purpose of preventing water resource impacts. Discharges of concern for calcareous fens are direct discharges or an indirect discharge to the fen from the construction site within one mile.

Keep the list of waters that will receive discharges from the construction site. This information is required on the permit application form.

Step 9. Determine eligibility for the Construction Stormwater General Permit

If special waters will receive a discharge within one mile of the construction site (identified in Steps 5A and 8) and the requirements (located in Appendix A of the general permit) for these discharges will not be fulfilled.

You will need an individual NPDES/SDS Construction Stormwater Permit.  Contact the front desk (651-296-6300 or 800-657-3864) and ask for the Stormwater Policy and Technical Assistance Unit Lead.

An impaired water for phosphorus, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, or biotic impairment:

  1. will receive a discharge as a result of the construction project and
    1. has an approved TMDL with an Approved Waste Load Allocation or
    2. has no approved TMDL or has an approved TMDL but no Waste Load Allocation?
  2. and the SWPPP does not include best management practices to comply with all the applicable requirements?

If yes - you must apply for an individual permit. Contact the front desk (651-296-6300 or 800-657-3864) and ask for the Stormwater Policy and Technical Assistance Unit Lead.

Step 10. Complete online application form for an MPCA NPDES/SDS stormwater permit for construction activity.

MPCA Online Services Online Stormwater Permit Application. Gather the following information before entering MPCA Online Services to apply for a construction stormwater permit. Incomplete applications cannot be saved or processed.

  • Owner/Permittee Information
    • Firm name
    • Business type
    • Full name
    • E-mail address
    • Business phone
    • Complete mailing address
  • Routine Contact for Owner/Permittee Information
    • Full name
    • E-mail address
    • Business phone
  • Contractor/Permittee Information
    • Firm name
    • Business type
    • Full name
    • E-mail address
    • Business phone
    • Complete mailing address
  • Routine Contact for Contractor/Permittee Information
    • Full name
    • E-mail address
    • Business phone
  • Third Party/Permittee Information
    • Firm name
    • Business type
    • Full name
    • E-mail address
    • Business phone
    • Complete mailing address
  • Project Type
    • Commercial, Residential, Road, Residential and road, or Other
  • Project Location
    • County/Counties
    • City/Cities
    • Townships
  • Project Name and Location
    • Project name
    • Project descriptive location
    • Primary city and zip code
    • Latitude and longitude of approximate centroid of the project
  • Project Size
  • Project Size
    • Project size
    • Existing area of impervious surface
    • Post construction area or impervious surface
  • Permanent Stormwater Management
    • Exempt/Not feasible, Exempt/Proximity, Exempt/Right of Way, Infiltration/Filtration, Regional Ponding or Wet Sedimentation
  • Water Bodies (within one mile of project)
    • Water body ID
    • Water body name
    • Water body type
    • Special Waters status
    • Impaired Water status
  • Construction Dates
    • Start date
    • Estimated completion date
  • Payment
    • Choose payment method
    • Bank account routing number and account number for eCheck option
    • Visa/MasterCard number, card holder name and expiration date for credit/debit option
    • Name
    • Phone number
    • Mailing address
    • Email address

Step 10b. Projects that require a paper application

For projects that will disturb 50 acres or more and have a discharge point on the project that is within one mile of, and flows to, as special or impaired, or applicants that do not have internet access:

Call the MPCA at 651-757-2119 or 800-657-3804 or email csw.pca@state.mn.us to obtain a Submittal Number and obtain a copy of the permit application. If the Submittal Number is not included with the paper permit application, the application will be considered incomplete.

Step 11. Submit completed application form along with the $400 application fee to the MPCA.

Submittal deadlines:

  • Projects requiring an individual NPDES/SDS Construction Stormwater Permit - 180 days before the construction start date.
  • Projects disturbing 50 acres or more and have a discharge point on the project that is within one mile of, and flows to, a special water or an impaired water - 30 days before the construction start date submit application and SWPPP.
  • All other projects - 7 days before the construction start date.

Step 12. Begin construction.

When is permit coverage granted and construction can begin?

  • Projects disturbing 50 acres or more and have a discharge point on the project that is within one mile of, and flows to, a special water or an impaired water - 30 days after the postmarked date of the completed application unless notified in writing that the SWPPP does not meet the general permit requirements.
  • Projects requiring an individual NPDES/SDS construction stormwater permit - After process including permit development, public input, and permit issuance has been completed.
  • All other projects - 7 days after submitting the complete online application or 7 days after the postmarked date of the completed application form.
Last modified on September 23, 2014 13:48