General Construction Frequently Asked Questions (Storm Permits):
UPDES Permits

Who is required to get a UPDES Construction Storm Water Permit?

Operators of construction activity that disturb 1 acre or greater are required to get a Storm Water Permit from the Division of Water Quality, however many construction sites that disturb less than 1 acre are also required to get a permit. A site that is less than 1 acre is required to get permit coverage if it is part of a “common plan of development or sale” that is over 1 acre.

Who is an operator for a UPDES Construction Storm Water Permit?

An operator at a construction site is:

  1. One who controls the specifications of the facility to be constructed.
  2. One who controls the day-by-day activities at the permitted construction site.

The operator described in #1 (above) has control of specifications for the permanent Storm Water system to be installed at the site. This is regulated by the UPDES Construction Storm Water Permit, however, the State often defers this oversight to the municipality of jurisdiction so that the municipality may apply their own preference for standards and types of Storm Water facilities.

The operator described in #2 (above) manages erosion and sediment control during construction activity. DWQ is more often interested in sediment and erosion control at construction sites, however, either of these operators can appropriately be named as the main operator. Commonly the operator is the owner (or project instigator) or the general contractor for the project.

What is Common Plan of Development or Sale?

A “common plan of development or sale” is a plan to subdivide a parcel of land into separate parts for separate sale. The plan originates as a single parcel which is separated into parts related by any announcement, piece of documentation (including a sign, public notice or hearing, sales pitch, advertisement, drawing, plat, blueprint, contract, permit application, zoning request, computer design, etc.), physical demarcation (including boundary signs, lot stakes, surveyor markings, etc.), or continuing obligation (including contracts) that identify the scope of the project.

A plan may still be a common plan of development or sale even if it is taking place in separate stages or phases, is planned in combination with other construction activities, or is implemented by different owners or operators. Most commonly it consists of a subdivision with residential or commercial lots that are built and completed separately from each other.

What is required in a permit?

A permit is needed BEFORE construction starts and must be maintained through final site stabilization which means:

  • That all disturbed areas have either been built on, paved, re-vegetated or equivalent.
  • Permanent, physical post construction erosion controls have been placed.

(Note: If a site is re-vegetated, then a cover must be established with a density of at least 70% of pre-disturbance levels to be considered “finally stabilized.” Re-seeding alone does not qualify.)

Your permit requires you to control and eliminate storm water pollution sources through the development and implementation of a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). In the Plan, you identify possible sources of storm water pollutants then select Best Management Practices (BMPs) to reduce or eliminate their impacts. BMPs are the most important element of this Plan. The aim is to control storm water sediment and erosion to the maximum extent practicable. Controls can encompass a wide range of structural and non-structural options:

  • Structural Controls
    Could include, for example, the installation of a silt fence or the construction of a stabilized construction entrance/exit.
  • Non-structural Controls
    Could include, for example, the maintenance of a vegetative filter strip or education of the general public on the application of fertilizer and pesticides. The permit also requires routine inspection of the BMP controls at least once every 14 days. The inspections should identify whether any of the controls need maintenance and if they are effective. If deficiencies are found during inspections, this is required to be documented and followed up with actions to resolve the deficiencies. Documentation is required to be kept on site and is usually best kept in the SWPPP.
How does one get a Utah Construction Storm Water Permit?

Construction Storm Water Permits can be obtained online by proceeding through the on-line application process on the DWQ Storm Water Web page or by downloading the NOI Form for the UPDES Construction Storm Water Permit Web page and submitting the completed form to the Division of Water Quality.

How does the online application work?

The application takes about 20 minutes to complete. You will first be asked a series of screening questions. Depending on your answers, you will be guided to (1) the Notice of Intent or NOI form, or (2) if you are a small construction site that plans to start and finish between January 1 and April 30 of the same calendar year, you will be sent to the Low Erosivity Waiver Form. If you need a permit, the system will prompt you to fill out the NOI form, then to certify the information is accurate.

The system will next move to the payment screen. The permit fee is automatically calculated by the system. Permit fee payments can be made by Visa, MasterCard or e-check. If you want to send a check by mail, the application can be submitted as “pending”. Mailed checks must be received within ten working days or the NOI will be deleted. The program will also allow you the option of printing off the NOI and submitting it and your check by mail. Permit coverage is then issued on the spot and you will be assigned your own permit number.

Remember, before you apply online, you need to have developed your SWPPP.

Are there Construction Storm Water Permit payment exemptions for local government agencies?

No. City and/or County government entities are not exempt from the permit fee.

Is the oil and gas industry required to apply for construction Storm Water permit coverage?

Only activities (industrial or construction) that result in a discharge of a reportable quantity release or that contribute pollutants to a violation of a water quality standard are subject to permit coverage.

What waivers are available for Storm Water Phase II construction activity?

The only waiver available for construction activity is for small construction activity and is called an Erosivity Waiver. It is based on seasonally low rainfall. The Erosivity Waiver is available for construction activities that have a calculated R-factor of less than 5

The form to file for an Erosivity Waiver is found on the DWQ Website for the Construction Storm Water Program. Erosivity Waivers are not available for any construction activity disturbing 5 acres or greater, or less than 5 acres if part of a common plan of development or sale (or if designated for permit coverage by DWQ).

How are UPDES Construction Storm Water Permits Terminated?

A permittee can go to the Storm Water Permit Issuance System on the DWQ Storm Water Website and access the account the NOI was originally submitted and proceed through the NOT steps. Additionally, the permittee may go on the DWQ Storm Water Website, download the NOT form, and submit the completed form to DWQ.

A termination inspection will be performed by the local municipality or State to confirm final stabilization.