Guidance Regarding National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System/ State Disposal System Construction Stormwater Permit Requirements
Use this guidance to determine whether a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System/State Disposal System (NPDES/SDS) construction stormwater permit is needed for your linear underground/ overhead project. Linear facilities include conduits, substructures, pipelines, towers, poles cables, wires, connectors, switching, regulating and transforming equipment, and associated ancillary facilities.
Construction activities including clearing, grading, and excavating that will disturb one or more acres of land, or that are part of a larger common plan of development or sale that will disturb one or more acres of land, requires coverage under a NPDES/SDS construction stormwater permit.
Depending on the project type, to determine if the land area to be disturbed will be one acre or more, include the following areas in calculating the disturbed area:
A common plan of development or sale means a contiguous area where multiple, separate and distinct land disturbing activities may be taking place at different times, on different schedules, under one proposed plan. A “common plan” may consist of non-contiguous separate projects. In this case, for discrete construction projects that are located within a larger common plan that are at least one fourth mile apart, each project (e.g. individual structure) can be treated as a separate plan of development or sale provided no land disturbing activity is proposed between the projects.
Example: Two oil and gas well pads separated by one half mile could be treated as separate development plans if no land disturbing activity is proposed between the pads. However, if the same two well pads are connected by an access road or other land disturbing activity, all three areas would be considered part of a "common plan" for permitting purposes even if the construction activity is occurring at separate times.
Example: If a utility company were constructing new trunk lines off an existing transmission line to serve separate residential subdivisions located more than one fourth mile apart, the two trunk line projects could be considered to be separate projects
If you originally determined that NPDES/SDS construction stormwater permit coverage was not required for your project, appropriate best management practices (BMPs) should be used for erosion prevention and sediment control to avoid transport of sediment and associated contaminants that would violate water quality standards downstream from the project area during project construction.
During dry or frozen ground conditions with snow cover, soil disturbance from installation of linear facilities is generally expected to be minimal. Under these conditions, the need for BMPs is dependent on the proximity of the project to waters of the state, the amount of soil disturbance, and the potential to violate state water quality standards during construction.
However, if unexpected rainfall or wet soil conditions occur that will result in larger exposure of soil, one acre or more, or your area of disturbance is greater than you originally calculated, you will need to meet the requirements for permit application and obtain NPDES/SDS construction stormwater permit coverage.
The project should be in compliance with state and federal wetland regulations, including the Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act, and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, as applicable.
To get an application form and find more information about applying for permit coverage, visit the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) construction stormwater website
The Minnesota Utility Contractors Association offers trade specific training on erosion and sediment control at utility construction sites. Information on training opportunities can be found here
MPCA Stormwater Hotline 651-757-2119 800-657-3804 (toll free)