Construction FAQs

Q. Do I need to get a permit for my construction project?

A. If your construction project will cause a land disturbance of one acre or more (i.e., clearing, grading, excavation, etc.), you must obtain coverage under the State’s General Construction Activity Stormwater Permit (General Construction Permit). To obtain coverage under the General Construction Permit, a Notice of Intent (NOI) must be filed with the State Water Resources Control Board. The NOI and General Construction Permit can be downloaded from the State Water Resources Control Board’s web site at: The General Permit requires you to prepare and implement a “Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan” (SWPPP). Your SWPPP must identify appropriate stormwater pollution prevention measures or best management practices (BMPs) to eliminate or reduce pollutants in stormwater discharges from the construction site both during construction and after construction is complete.

Q. What if my construction project involves less than 1 acre of a land disturbance?

A. If your project is less than one acre, you may still need to use BMPs to comply with local municipal requirements. Check with the local planning or engineering departments for details.

Q. Is guidance available for preparing a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), which is required by the State’s General Construction Permit?

A. Yes. The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board’s “Guidelines for Construction Projects” provides guidance on how to prepare a SWPPP. To order this guidebook, contact Friends of the San Francisco Estuary at (510) 622-2465. Guidance is also available in the California Stormwater Quality Association’s Stormwater Best Management Practice Handbook for Construction, which can be downloaded for free at:

Q. Who is responsible for complying with the General Construction Permit?

A. The owner of the land is responsible for compliance with the General Construction Permit.

Q. How do I get more information about the General Construction Permit?

A. Contact the State Water Resources Control Board’s construction activities message line at (916) 657-1146.

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