This page provides information on planning, scheduling, and sequencing for construction. For additional information, see the section on Planning, scheduling, and sequencing for construction#Additional information

Steps to compliance

This photo shows Planning ahead effective way to minimize erosion and sedimentation
Planning ahead is the most effective way to minimize erosion and sedimentation during construction and reduce project costs.

Owners/operators of construction activity must complete several steps before completing a permit application and beginning construction. These steps also help owners/operators determine their eligibility for coverage under the general permit.

Step 1: Identify the construction site boundaries, the latitude and longitude for the centroid of the site, and the project's major phases.

Where will the construction occur and what will the project involve? Identifying the construction site boundaries is important to determining which environmental resources may be at risk of being impacted by the project. Identify opportunities to phase the project so that vegetation will remain in those areas that will not have construction activity at the start of the project. Construction phasing can minimize or eliminate negative environmental impacts from the project.
The latitude and longitude can be obtained with Bing Maps during the online application process, a GPS unit, using a USGS topographic map (provide scale), or using a range of mapping websites. For more information, read How to Determine Latitude and Longitude.

Step 2: Determine if additional permits are needed.

Contact other state and federal agencies and local units of government to determine what permits are required in addition to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and State Disposal System (SDS) permit issued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).

Ste 3: Determine if Environmental Review is needed.

Contact the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board, the appropriate state agency or local unit of government to determine if the proposed project meets or exceeds the thresholds outlined in the state environmental review rules (MN. Rules Chapter 4410.) Development of an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) may be required for the project prior to the issuance of any permits and before construction activity can begin.

Step 4: Understand the requirements of the NPDES/SDS general stormwater permit for construction activity.

The general stormwater permit for construction activity contains many requirements that must be considered during the planning phase of a construction project. Decisions made during planning may make the difference between the project requiring a more onerous individual permit instead of the general permit.

Step 5: Identify waters that have the potential to receive stormwater discharge during or after construction.

Special Waters Search: Use this mapping tool to prepare a list of all the waters located within one mile of the construction site boundary.
  1. List all surface waters (including wetlands) located within one mile of the site boundary using the Special Waters Search, United States Geological Survey (USGS) 7.5 minute quad map or equivalent.
  2. Are there "Special Waters," as identified in Appendix A of the General Stormwater Permit for Construction Activity (MNR100001)? Use the Special Waters Search or the Special Waters Document and a quad map to prepare a list of all the special waters located within one mile of the site boundary: Special Waters List
  3. Are there "Impaired Waters," as identified in Appendix A, where the identified pollutant(s) or stressor(s) are nutrients, turbidity, dissolved oxygen or biotic impairment listed under section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act? Use the Special Waters Search or the current TMDL List of Impaired Waters and a quad map to prepare a list of all the impaired waters located within one mile of the site boundary.
  • If yes, check the current approved TMDL Implementation Plans. Does the impaired water have an approved total maximum daily load (TMDL) implementation plan containing requirements for construction stormwater discharges? If so, the TMDL implementation plan must be incorporated in the project Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).

Step 6: Determine if discharges from construction site will impact other protected resources.

The following list identifies protected resources in Minnesota.
  • Listed endangered or threatened species or a designated critical habitat. Contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, Midwest.
  • Minnesota listed endangered, threatened and special concern species. To obtain a list of these species in the site that you are going to be disturbing, submit a NHIS Data Request form with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Division of Ecological Resources.
  • Properties listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places or known or discovered archeological sites.
  • MPCA calcareous fens. Calcareous fens are a very rare and unique type of wetland that can contain a number of rare wetland plant species. These fens are dependent upon water chemistry and hydrologic conditions. Minnesota rules protect these unique and fragile wetland resources. If runoff from the site discharges to a calcareous fen as listed in Minn. R. 7050.0180, subp. 6.b., additional permit requirements apply. Use the Special Waters Search and quad map to identify your construction site and prepare a list of all the calcareous fens that have the potential to be impacted by discharges from the site.
    • Special Waters Search: Use this tool to prepare a list of all the calcareous fens that have the potential to be impacted by discharges from the site.
  • DNR calcareous fens. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) works closely with counties and citizens to identify sensitive and rare habitat resources. Calcareous fens identified through these efforts are compiled on the DNR List of Known Calcareous Fen Sites; however, these fens are not yet listed by the MPCA as Outstanding Resource Value Waters. Construction that results in a discharge to this category of fen is covered under the general NPDES/SDS Construction Stormwater Permit, but must also meet the Wetland Conservation Act and wetland protection rules administered by the DNR.
  • For more information on the Wetland Conservation Act requirements, contact the Board of Water and Soil Conservation, 651-296-3767.
  • DNR permits and the Wetland Conservation Act information

Step 7. Prepare a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).

Develop a SWPPP following the requirements of the permit. All waters located within one mile (aerial radius measurement) of the construction site that have the potential to receive a discharge from the site must be identified on the site map component of the SWPPP. Be sure to include any additional requirements needed for discharges to special waters.

(SWPPP) reviews.

Step 8. Identify discharges.

Check waters list in Steps 5 and 6 to determine which surface waters (including wetlands, special waters, impaired waters, calcareous fens, and others) have a potential to receive a discharge after considering water flow and modifications to the construction plans made for the purpose of preventing water resource impacts. The SWPPP must include a map of all surface waters, existing wetlands, and stormwater ponds or basins that have a potential to receive a discharge from the site. Where surface waters receiving stormwater associated with construction activity will not fit on the plan sheet, they must be identified with an arrow, indicating both direction and distance to the surface water. Discharges of concern for calcareous fens are direct discharges or an indirect discharge to the fen from the construction site within one mile.
Keep the list of waters that will receive discharges from the construction site. This information is required on the permit application form.

Step 9. Determine eligibility for the Construction Stormwater General Permit.

If special or impaired waters will receive a discharge within one mile of the site (identified in Steps 5, 6 and 8) and the additional requirements listed in Appendix A of the Minnesota NPDES/SDS Construction Stormwater General Permit cannot be met, you will need an individual NPDES/SDS Construction Stormwater Permit. Contact the front desk (651-296-6300 or 800-657-3864) and ask for the Stormwater Policy and Technical Assistance Unit Lead.

Step 10. Complete online application form for an NPDES/SDS stormwater permit for construction activity.

Online Stormwater Permit Application. Gather the following information before entering MPCA Online Services to apply for a construction stormwater permit. Incomplete applications cannot be saved or processed.
  • Owner information
    • Firm name
    • Business type
    • Email address
    • Business phone
    • Complete mailing address
  • Owner contact
    • Full name
    • Email address
    • Business phone
  • Contractor information
    • Firm name
    • Business type
    • Email address
    • Business phone
    • Complete mailing address
  • Contractor contact
    • Full name
    • Email address
    • Business phone
  • Third party information (if applicable)
    • Firm name
    • Business type
    • Full name
    • Email address
    • Business phone
    • Complete mailing address
  • Project location
    • Address, city, zip code
    • Latitude and longitude of approximate centroid of the project
    • Project descriptive location
  • Project information
    • Project name
    • Project type: Commercial, residential, road, residential and road, or other
    • Construction start date
    • Estimated completion date
    • Project area
    • Existing area of impervious surface
    • Post construction area of impervious surface
  • Permanent stormwater management (if applicable)
    • Infiltration, filtration, wet sedimentation basin, regional ponding, stormwater harvest and reuse or other
  • Water bodies (within one mile of project)
    • Water body name
    • Type of water body
    • Special Waters status
    • Impaired Water status
  • Payment ◦Choose payment method
    • Bank account routing number and account number for eCheck option
    • Visa/MasterCard number, card holder name and expiration date for credit/debit option
    • Name
    • Phone number
    • Mailing address
    • Email address

Step 11. Submit completed application form with the $400 application fee to the MPCA.

Submittal deadlines:
  • Projects requiring an individual NPDES/SDS Construction Stormwater Permit — 180 days before the construction start date.
  • Projects disturbing 50 acres or more and have a discharge point on the project that is within one mile of, and flows to, a special water or an impaired water — 30 days before the construction start date submit application and SWPPP.
  • All other projects — 7 days before the construction start date.

Step 12. Begin construction.

When is permit coverage granted and construction can begin?
  • Projects disturbing 50 acres or more and have a discharge point on the project that is within one mile of, and flows to, a special water or an impaired water — 30 days after the date of the completed application and payment unless notified in writing that the SWPPP does not meet the general permit requirements.
  • Projects requiring an individual NPDES/SDS construction stormwater permit — After process including permit development, public input and permit issuance has been completed.
  • All other projects — 7 days after submitting the complete online application or 7 days after the date of the completed application form and payment.

Construction site stormwater program compliance timeline

photo of mulch application
Application of mulch at a construction site is an example of an erosion prevention practice.
image of inlet protection
Example of proper inlet protection is an example of a sediment control practice.

The progression of activities at a construction site is as follows.

  • Evaluate and assess the construction site
    • Collect site information (size, slopes, soils, drainage patterns)
    • Identify sensitive areas – waters, vegetation, slopes, etc.
    • Produce map or drawing of the existing site
    • Create the final project design map or drawing
    • Characterize the sequence of major construction activities
    • Calculate area, infiltration, runoff, and drainage system sizing
  • Select site-specific erosion, sediment, and housekeeping controls
    • Review local and state permit requirements
    • Identify erosion prevention field practices and site locations
    • Select sediment control practices and field locations
    • Determine housekeeping and pollution prevention practices
    • Indicate location of best management practices (BMPs)
    • Prepare a plan for inspecting and maintaining BMPs
  • Complete permitting and notification tasks
    • Identify all contractors and subcontractors
    • Develop stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP)
    • Submit Notice of Intent to apply for a permit to MPCA
    • Apply for and obtain other local/state/federal permits
    • Familiarize contractors and others with SWPPP requirements
  • Construction and SWPPP implementation
    • Install stabilized exit and initial downgradient perimeter controls
    • Install and stabilize initial drainage system, traps, and basins
    • Proceed with phased clearing and grading work
    • Implement phased erosion/sediment BMPs as needed
    • Stabilize disturbed areas within 14 days or as required
    • Inspect and maintain BMPs, document activities
  • Final stabilization and permit termination
    • Stabilize all disturbed areas, slopes, and drainage systems
    • Remove waste and unused materials
    • Remove all temporary BMPs, stabilize BMP locations
    • File Notice of Termination and other required notices

See here for more information.

Considerations for construction scheduling

Considerations for construction scheduling
Link to this table

Construction activity Schedule consideration
Identify and label protection areas (e.g. buffer zones, filter strips, trees). Site delineation should be completed before construction begins.
Construction access. Construction entrance, construction routes, equipment parking areas and cutting of vegetation (necessary perimeter controls). First land-disturbing activity - Establish protected areas and designated resources for protection. Stabilize bare areas immediately with gravel and temporary vegetation as construction takes place.
Sediment traps and barriers. Basin traps, sediment fences, and outlet protection (necessary perimeter controls). install principal basins after construction site is accessed. Install additional traps and barriers as needed during grading.
Runoff control. Diversions, silt fence, perimeter dikes, water bars, and outlet protection. Install key practices after principal sediment traps and before land grading. install additional runoff control measures during grading.
Runoff conveyance system. Stabilize stream banks, storm drains, channels, inlet and outlet protection, and slope drains. Where necessary, stabilize stream banks as early as possible. Install principal runoff conveyance system with runoff-control measures. install remainder of system after grading.
Grubbing and grading. Site preparation: cutting, filling and grading, sediment traps, barriers, diversions, drains, surface roughening. Begin major grubbing and grading after principal sediment and key runoff control measures are installed. clear borrow and disposal areas only as needed. Install additional control measures as grading progresses.
Surface stabilization: temporary and permanent seeding, mulching, sodding, and installing riprap. Apply temporary or permanent stabilization measures immediately on all disturbed areas where work is delayed or complete.
Building construction: buildings, utilities, paving. install necessary erosion and sedimentation control practices as work takes place.
Landscaping and final stabilization: topsoiling, planting trees and shrubs, permanent seeding, mulching, sodding, installing riprap. Last construction phase - stabilize all open areas, including borrow and spoil areas. Remove and stabilize all temporary control measures.
Maintenance. Maintenance inspections should be performed weekly, and maintenance repairs should be made immediately after periods of rainfall.

Additional information

2013 Permit Fact sheets

Compliance guidance factsheets

Links to examples from other locations

Training opportunities

Stormwater-related training opportunities are available from the following organizations

Disclaimer: Links are provided as a convenience. MPCA is not is not responsible for the information at these sites and does not necessarily endorse the opinions, products or services found there.

This page was last modified on 11 October 2018, at 08:53.

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