Resources and Stormwater Best Management Practices for Construction Projects

The following resources will assist construction contractors, engineers, property owners, and municipal staff in preventing stormwater pollution at active construction sites. Open the panels to find what you need.

Construction Site Stormwater Management Requirements

All construction activities, no matter how minor, must control potential pollutants to prevent them from being released to the environment. Some active construction projects must comply with expanded erosion and sediment control requirements to protect local creeks, bays and the ocean.

For projects that will include any soil disturbance during construction that has the potential to become a discharge, applicants must submit an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan (ESCP) for approval by the municipality prior to the issuance of certain permits, including all Grading Permit, most Building Permits, other permits at the discretion of the municipality (e.g. Encroachment or Demolition Permits with potential for significant erosion or non-stormwater discharges), and projects designated by local authorized official or designated municipal staff.

The purpose of the ESCP is to:

  • Identify potential pollutant sources that may affect the quality of stormwater runoff discharges from the construction site.
  • Document the Best Management Practices (BMPs) that will be implemented and placed in order to prevent, to the maximum extent practicable, construction site pollutants from leaving the site and entering the storm drain system during all phases of construction.
  • Document erosion control, sediment control, and good housekeeping BMPs that must be implemented year-round as appropriate based on construction activities.

The ESCP may require modification as the project progresses and as conditions warrant. All modifications to the approved ESCP must be submitted to the municipality for review and approval. Open the MCSTOPPP Erosion and Sediment Control Plan Applicant Package to get started.

If a project disturbs one acre or more of soil, it is subject to the State Construction General Permit (CGP). In this circumstance, the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) developed pursuant to the CGP may be submitted to the municipality for review in place of the ESCP.

What should be in the Erosion and Sediment Control Plan

The Erosion and Sediment Control Plan ESCP applicant package provides templates for ease of preparation. The sections require the following information be provided:

  1. Project Information
  2. Applicant Information
    • owner
    • contractor
  3. Other Required Permits (if triggered)
  4. Site Plan BMP Implementation Schedule
    • plan sheets
    • BMP locations
    • schedule of site-specific BMPs implemented year round
  5. BMP information
    • rationale for selecting BMP including, if needed, soil loss calculations
Important information to consider
  • Most projects with disturbed soil that require a Building or Grading Permit must develop an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan (ESCP) and implement BMPs year-round.
  • If an ESCP is required, a Building or Grading Permit will not be issued without written approval of the ESCP or Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan.
  • Prior to disturbing soil, provide evidence that all outside agency permits have been obtained.
  • ESCP changes must be approved by the local permitting agency.
  • Active projects must submit a revised ESCP for approval.
  • At minimum the ESCP must include the applicable MCSTOPPP minimum erosion control, sediment control, and good housekeeping BMPs described in the MCSTOPPP Minimum Erosion/Sediment Control Measures for Small Construction Projects fact sheet
  • Applicants may need to consider BMPs beyond the minimum control measures if warranted by site conditions and planned construction activities.
  • If dewatering will occur applicant’s need to follow the MCSTOPPP Trench Dewatering BMPs.
  • Projects subject to other permits (e.g., CGP, Section 404 Permit) must address the minimum MCSTOPPP control measures as well as the BMPs required by the other permit(s).
  • For an overview here is the Erosion and Sediment Control Plan PowerPoint from the November 12, 2015 MCSTOPPP Stormwater Construction Workshop.
Best Management Practices for Construction Activities
General Information

During construction activities pollutants must be controlled to prevent water or wind from carrying them offsite. Common construction site pollutants include, but are not limited to:

  • Sediment from soil erosion or stockpiles
  • Construction material and waste (paint, solvents, concrete, drywall, etc.)
  • Landscaping runoff containing fertilizers, pesticides, and top dressings
  • Spilled oil, fuel, and other fluids from construction vehicles and equipment
  • Non-storm discharges (dewatering trenches, dust control, washing equipment)

To protect stormwater quality, implement best management practices (BMPs) to minimize pollutant exposure, protect exposed pollutants, and remove any pollutants that accidentally enter stormwater runoff. The major categories BMPs are erosion control, sediment control, and good housekeeping. The following documents information on effective best management practices:

Sediment and Erosion Control

The following documents contain sediment and erosion control best management practices.

Long term Erosion Repair Guidance

Construction Materials and Wastes

  • Pollution Prevention – It’s Part of the Plan – Includes best practices for contaminated soils, paving, dewatering, sawcutting, material storage, waste disposal, hazardous materials management, painting, landscaping, vehicle and equipment maintenance.
  • Prevención de la Contaminación – es Parte del Plan – (Spanish version of Pollution Prevention…) Actividaded de suelos contaminados, trabajos de pavimentación, operaciones de desaguado,uso de serruchos, almacenamiento de materials y disposición de rediduous, manejo de materiales peligrosos, pintura, jardinería ornamental, y mantenimiento de equipo y vehículos.
  • Fresh Concrete and Mortar Application – Includes proper procedures to prevent illegal discharges from these applications. Fresh concrete and mortar are considered pollutants in storm drains, creeks, and bays because they are toxic to fish and the aquatic environment.
  • Painting and Solvents and Adhesives Application – Includes proper procedures to prevent illegal discharges. Paints, thinners, solvents, glues and cleaning fluids are hazardous wastes and toxic to fish and the aquatic environment.

Non-Stormwater

Local and State Requirements
Marin municipalities and the county have been implementing the Phase II permit including construction site performance standards since 2003.

  • Local ordinances require landowners and construction site operators to control construction site runoff and protection of water quality
  • The ordinances are updated to reflect changes with each new permit re-issuance as needed
  • The current permit requires Erosion and Sediment Control Plans for existing and planned projects
Projects Disturbing Over 1 Acre or More of Soil
  • State of California’s Construction General Permit requires Construction General permit coverage by filing a Notice of Intent (NOI) to comply.
  • Subject construction activity to this permit includes clearing, grading and disturbances to the ground such as stockpiling or excavation
  • Does not include regular maintenance activities performed to restore the original line, grade or capacity of the facility
  • Requires Development of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan prepared by a Qualified SWPPP Developer (QSD)
  • Submit Notice of Intent (NOI), Risk Assessment, Site Map, Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan and Annual Fee prior to the start of construction.
  • Implement a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan with a Qualified SWPPP Practitioner (QSP) or QSD.
  • Projects that prepare a SWPPP required by the State Construction General Stormwater Permit can submit their SWPPP for review in-lieu of the Erosion and Sediment Control Plan required by local stormwater program requirements.
  • More information about the Construction General Permit is at the State Water Resources Control Board’s website.
Post Construction Permit Requirements
  • Certain size projects install bioretention facilities to treat the urban runoff.
  • If the construction project includes these treatments, please be familiar with the stormwater construction checklist in the project’s Stormwater Control Plan.
  • The BASMAA Post Construction Manual provides information on these projects and Appendix B contains a generic construction checklist for the bioretention facilities
Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan - SWPPP Resources

The State General Construction Permit requires the development and implementation of a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).

  • The SWPPP must be prepared by a Qualified SWPPP Developer (QSD) and should contain a site map(s) which shows the construction site perimeter, existing and proposed buildings, lots, roadways, storm water collection and discharge points, general topography both before and after construction, and drainage patterns across the project.
  • The SWPPP must list Best Management Practices (BMPs) the discharger will use to protect storm water runoff and the placement of those BMPs.
  • Additionally, the SWPPP must contain a visual monitoring program; a chemical monitoring program for “non-visible” pollutants to be implemented if there is a failure of BMPs; and a sediment monitoring plan if the site discharges directly to a water body listed on the 303(d) list for sediment.
  • Section A of the Construction General Permit describes the elements that must be contained in a SWPPP.

The following documents may assist you in your SWPPP preparation:

Training Presentation

Caltrans Manuals and Handbooks for Construction Sites – A wide assortment of manuals and handbooks covering Best Management Practices (BMPs), Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs), and Water Pollution Control Programs (WPCPs).

Presentation from the 2015 Construction Stormwater Workshop: Marin Erosion and Sediment Control Requirements by Sandy Matthews covers:

Construction Stormwater Management Compliance Workshop – A presentation for the 2011 Workshop. Covers site management (erosion control, sediment control, pollution prevention practices and inspections) state permit requirements overview, risk determination, local requirements, site monitoring practical field tools, and becoming a QSD or QSP.

Storm Water Quality Construction Site Compliance/Controls – A presentation by Scott Taylor, P.E., RBF Consulting for the 2009 Marin Construction Stormwater Management Compliance Workshop. Covers regulatory responsibilities, overview of NPDES and SWPPP, Inspection and Enforcement, and examples of good and bad practices.

Stormwater Protection Requirements for Development Projects in Marin County – A presentation for the 2009 Marin Construction Stormwater Management Compliance Workshop. Covers MCSTOPP’s role, prior Phase II stormwater permit, requirements from local Management Plan, ordinances in Marin, prior post construction requirements.