General Construction Permit


Updated effective July 17, 2012  General Permit 2009-0009 DWQ as adopted by the State authorizes the discharge of storm water to surface waters from construction projects that disturb more than one (1) acre of land or that are part of a larger common plan of development (i.e. lot within shopping plaza) may be required to request coverage under the State General Construction Permit.

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Activities Requiring Coverage Under the General Permit

  • Any construction or demolition activity, including, but not limited to, clearing, grading, grubbing, or excavation, or any other activity that results in a land disturbance of equal to or greater than one acre. 
  • Construction activity that results in land surface disturbances of less than one acre if the construction activity is part of a larger common plan of development or the sale of one or more acres of disturbed land surface. (ex. lot in a developed shopping center) 
  • Construction activity related to residential, commercial, or industrial development on lands currently used for agriculture,
  • Construction activity associated with Linear Underground/Overhead Utility Projects (LUPs) including, but not limited to, those activities necessary for the installation of underground and overhead linear facilities and include, but are not limited to, underground utility mark-out, potholing, concrete and asphalt cutting and removal, trenching, excavation, boring and drilling, access road and pole/tower pad and cable/wire pull station, substation construction, substructure installation, construction of tower footings and/or foundations, pole and tower installations, pipeline installations, welding, concrete and/or pavement repair or replacement, and stockpile/borrow locations.
  • Discharges of sediment from construction activities associated with oil and gas exploration, production, processing, or treatment operations or transmission facilities.
  • Storm water discharges from dredge spoil placement that occur outside of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers jurisdiction (upland sites) and that disturb one or more acres of land surface from construction activity are covered by this General Permit. Construction sites that intend to disturb one or more acres of land within the jurisdictional boundaries of a CWA § 404 permit should contact the appropriate Regional Water Board to determine whether this permit applies to the site.

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The State developed Stormwater Multiple Application Report Tracking System (SMARTS) to provide an online tool to assist dischargers in submitting their NOIs, NECs, NOTs, and Annual Reports, as well as, viewing/printing Receipt Letters, monitoring the status of submitted documents, and viewing their application/renewal fee statements. The system will also allow the Regional Board and State Board staff to process and track the discharger submitted documents.

Construction activities requiring coverage must submit the Permit Registration Documents(PRDs) electronically using  SMARTS.

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Notice of Intent (NOI)
The project applicant is required to submit to the State a Notice of Intent (NOI) to receive a Waste Discharge Identification Number (WDID). The NOI and associated documents - Permit Registration Documents (PRD) - are filed electronically through the Stormwater Multiple Application Report Tracking System (SMARTS)

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Standard Permit Registration Documents (PRDs) are: 

  1. Risk Assessment (Standard or Site-Specific) 
  2. Site Map 
  3. Annual Fee* 
  4. Certification
    *The annual fee must be mailed to the Santa Ana Regional Board. Permit coverage will not be issued until after the fee is received.

The applicant is required to provide a hard copy of the NOI filed through SMARTS and letter issuing the wastewater identification (WDID) number to the City prior to grading permit issuance.

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The project applicant is also required to prepare and implement a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). The SWPPP is submitted to both the City and State. The SWPPP is uploaded in electronic format into SMARTS when the NOI is filed. The City has prepared a handout to help you prepare for your electronic submittal. (upload handout)

As part of the grading permit application process, the applicant provides documentation received from the State of the NOI submittal and/or WDID to the City prior to receiving any Permits.

Construction sites with an R value less than 5 as determined in the Risk Assessment are not required to submit a SWPPP.  See Erosivity Waiver.

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In order to keep our lake and streams clean, construction management practices, to prevent pollutant runoff, are necessary. The Santa Ana Region Permittees have published minimum Best Management Practices (BMP) for all construction projects, as required per the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board and Green Building Code.
Best Management Practices or (BMPs) that must be implemented for common construction activities so that they are conducted in compliance with the regulations can be found at CASQA’s website

Please note that illegal discharges are subject to enforcement actions, including fines.

Routine construction BMP inspections will be conducted at all construction sites within the City. Inadequate, ineffective and un-maintained BMPs and/or prohibited discharges from any construction site will result in enforcement actions that may include a Notice of Noncompliance, Stop Work Order and/or Fines.

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The General Permit requires certain sites to develop and implement a Rain Event Action Plan (REAP) that must be designed to protect all exposed portions of the site within 48 hours prior to any likely precipitation event.

The REAP is specific for each rain event. A REAP should be designed that when implemented it protects all exposed portions of the site within 48 hours of any likely precipitation event forecast of 50% or greater probability.

This General Permit requires Risk Level 2 and 3 dischargers to develop and implement a REAP designed to protect all exposed portions of their sites within 48 hours prior to any likely precipitation event. The REAP requirement is designed to ensure that the discharger has adequate materials, staff, and time to implement erosion and sediment control measures that are intended to reduce the amount of sediment and other pollutants generated from the active site. A REAP must be developed when there is likely a forecast of 50% or greater probability of precipitation in the project area.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) web site is the preferred source for rain event forcasts.

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Small Construction Rainfall Erosivity Waiver EPA’s Small Construction Erosivity Waiver applies to sites between one and five acres demonstrating that there are no adverse water quality impacts.
Dischargers eligible for a Rainfall Erosivity Waiver based on low erosivity potential shall complete the electronic Notice of Intent (NOI) and Sediment Risk form through the State Water Board’s SMARTS
system, certifying that the construction activity will take place during a period when the value of the rainfall erosivity factor is less than five. 

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Upon receipt of complete Permit Registration Documents (PRDs) through SMARTS and associated fee, each discharger will be sent a waste discharger's identification (WDID) number. 

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Notice of Termination (NOT) is filed through SMARTS with the Regional Water Board when construction is complete and final stabilization has been reached or ownership has been transferred. The discharger must certify that all State and local requirements have been met in accordance with this General Permit. In order for construction to be found complete, the discharger must install post-construction storm water management measures and establish a long-term maintenance plan. The discharger is responsible for all compliance issues including all annual fees until the NOT has been filed and approved by the local Regional Water Board.

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