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.

Need help? Go to construction stormwater program contacts.

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 using a range of mapping websites.

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).

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.

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. 

Special and Impaired Waters Search: Use this mapping tool to prepare a list of all the waters located within one mile of the construction site boundary.

  1. List all surface waters (including wetlands) located within one mile of the site boundary using the Special and Impaired Waters Search, United States Geological Survey (USGS) 7.5 minute quad map or equivalent.
  2. Are there "Special Waters," as identified in Appendix A of the General Stormwater Permit for Construction Activity (MNR100001)? Use the Special and Impaired Waters Search or the Special Waters Document and a quad map to prepare a list of all the special waters located within one mile of the site boundary: PDF icon Special Waters List
  3. Are there "Impaired Waters," as identified in Appendix A, where the identified pollutant(s) or stressor(s) are nutrients, turbidity, dissolved oxygen or biotic impairment listed under section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act? Use the Special and Impaired Waters Search or the current TMDL List of Impaired Waters and a quad map to prepare a list of all the impaired waters located within one mile of the site boundary.
  • If yes, check the current approved TMDL Implementation Plans. Does the impaired water 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).

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.
  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 NHIS Data Request form with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Division of Ecological Resources.
  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.
  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; however, these fens 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.
  6. For more information on the Wetland Conservation Act requirements, contact the Board of Water and Soil Conservation, 651-296-3767.
  7. DNR permits and the Wetland Conservation Act information

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.

Check waters list in Steps 5 and 6 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.

If special or impaired waters will receive a discharge within one mile of the site (identified in Steps 5, 6 and 8) and the additional requirements listed in Appendix A of the general permit cannot be met, 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.

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 information
    • Firm name
    • Business type
    • Email address
    • Business phone
    • Complete mailing address
  • Owner contact
    • Full name
    • Email address
    • Business phone
  • Contractor information
    • Firm name
    • Business type
    • Email address
    • Business phone
    • Complete mailing address
  • Contractor contact
    • Full name
    • Email address
    • Business phone
  • Third party information (if applicable)
    • Firm name
    • Business type
    • Full name
    • Email address
    • Business phone
    • Complete mailing address
  • Project location
    • Address, city, zip code
    • Latitude and longitude of approximate centroid of the project
    • Project descriptive location
  • Project information
    • Project name
    • Project type: Commercial, residential, road, residential and road, or other
    • Construction start date
    • Estimated completion date
    • Project area
    • Existing area of impervious surface
    • Post construction area or impervious surface
  • Permanent stormwater management (if applicable)
    • Infiltration, filtration, wet sedimentation basin, regional ponding, stormwater harvest and reuse or other
  • Water bodies (within one mile of project)
    • Water body name
    • Type of water body
    • Special Waters status
    • Impaired Water status
  • 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

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.

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 date of the completed application and payment 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 date of the completed application form and payment.