Stormwater best management practices manual

Protecting water quality in urban areas (also referred to as the Blue Book) is a manual of stormwater best management practices. It was published in 2000 and has not undergone revision. Much of the information in this document is now outdated and we recommend it not be used for regulatory purposes.

Updated information on many of these topics can be found in the Minnesota Stormwater Manual, in particular chapter 6: Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control. If you reference the Stormwater best management practices manual, particularly in ordinances, we recommend updating the references. Please contact us if you have questions.

Protecting water quality in urban areas

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency originally developed this manual to help local government officials, urban planners, developers, contractors and citizens prevent stormwater-related pollution. (March 2000)


In many areas, wetlands, lakes, streams and ground water are increasingly vulnerable to human impacts. Gamefish populations have declined because wetlands and shallow lakes have filled with sediment. Many waters have become unsuitable for swimming and fishing because of sediment and other pollutants. Moreover, there's increasing concern about the quality of Minnesota's ground water, which supplies drinking water for three-fourths of the state's population.

Past efforts to improve our state's water concentrated on controlling pollution from point sources — municipal or industrial facilities that discharge to state waters — and we've made good progress in controlling point-source pollution. Nevertheless, our lakes, streams and ground waters continue to be degraded by pollutants that are carried in runoff. This kind of pollution is called "nonpoint-source pollution."

Urban development can significantly impact watersheds by increasing runoff and pollutant loading. The MPCA developed the stormwater manual to help local government officials, urban planners, developers and contractors understand urban nonpoint-source water pollution.

The manual contains detailed information about best management practices (BMPs) that can be used to protect lakes, streams and groundwater from stormwater-related pollution. Although much of the information in the manual is technical, chapters 1, 2 and 3 can help citizens understand the principles and challenges involved.