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It’s summer in Ohio, and lots of construction is happening. Construction sites can impact Ohio's waters by:

  • adding pollutants, especially sediment, to rainwater running off construction sites; and
  • making long-term land use changes that alter the hydrology and pollutant loading of local streams.

To limit the negative impacts of construction projects on Ohio's waters, Ohio EPA’s Division of Surface Water (DSW) administers a permitting program designed to document construction activity in the state and require practices that keep pollutants out of the streams. The permitting program is mandated in the Clean Water Act and is part of the NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) program.

Who needs a permit?

As of March 10, 2003, if your project disturbs one or more acres of ground, you must get a permit to discharge stormwater from your site. If your project disturbs less than one acre but is part of a larger plan of development or sale, you also need a permit to discharge stormwater from the site.

How do I get a permit?

Most sites may get permit coverage under the general permit for discharge of stormwater associated with construction activity.

To get permit coverage, follow these steps, in order:

  • Develop a storm water pollution prevention plan (SWP3) for the construction site;
  • Submit a notice of intent (NOI) requesting coverage for your discharges under the general permit;
  • Wait until you receive the Ohio EPA approval letter stating that you are covered under the general permit;
  • Ensure that contractors, subcontractors, and staff understand their roles in carrying out the SWP3;
  • Implement the SWP3;
  • Proceed with construction, including regular maintenance and inspection of sediment and erosion controls and stormwater management facilities.

For more information go to the DSW webpage at epa.ohio.gov/dsw/storm/index#189482493-construction-activities or see Ohio EPA’s storm water program fact sheet. If you have more questions, contact one of DSW’s staff members found online at epa.ohio.gov/dsw/storm/index#189482498-contacts.

To learn more about construction stormwater, go to Ohio EPA's YouTube Channel and listen to our March 25, 2021 webinar, NPDES Construction Storm Water 101. This webinar provided an overview of Ohio’s construction stormwater requirements and the construction general permit. Topics included permit coverage, notice of intent and notice of termination applications, basic stormwater pollution prevention plans, and both active and post-construction requirements.