Are You Sure You Don’t Need a Construction Stormwater Permit?

When stormwater drains off a construction site, it carries sediment and other pollutants that harm lakes, streams and wetlands, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. To control this erosion, the agency requires construction site owners and operators to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)/State Disposal System (SDS) Construction Stormwater General Permit.

The requirement for the permit has been in place for well over a decade, but some in the industry remain unaware.

You need an NPDES/SDS permit if you are the owner or operator for any construction activity disturbing:

• One acre or more of soil

• Less than one acre of soil if that activity is part of a “larger common plan of development or sale” that is greater than one acre

• Less than one acre of soil, but the MPCA determines that the activity poses a risk to water resources

Of particular significance for custom builders, for those building on one lot within a larger subdivision over an acre, an NPDES/SDS permit is needed. Housing First Minnesota continues to receive phone calls from builders and developers regarding this requirement. Fines for failure to comply can be significant.

When in doubt, contact the Minnesota Stormwater Hotline at 651-757-2119 or 800-657-3804 for assistance. More information and appropriate forms can be found online at the MPCA website: https://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/construction-stormwater.