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Regulatory Handbook -> Water Quality Permits -> Construction Stormwater General Permit - NPDES

Construction Stormwater General Permit - NPDES

What is the Purpose of this Permit?
This permit ensures that construction site operators follow measures as to prevent stormwater from washing soil, nutrients, chemicals and other harmful pollutants into local water bodies and degrading water quality.
Who Issues this Permit?
Department of Ecology
What Activities Require this Permit?
Construction site operators are required to be covered by a Construction Stormwater General Permit if they are engaged in clearing, grading, and excavating activities that disturb one or more acres and discharge stormwater to surface waters of the state.
The permit is also required if clearing, grading or excavating activities disturb an area smaller than 1 acre if it is part of a "larger common plan of development or sale" that will disturb 1 acre or more and discharge stormwater to surface waters of the state or a conveyance system that drains to surface waters of the state.

"Surface waters of the state" are broadly defined by state law and includes storm drains, ditches, wetlands, creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes and marine waters to obtain permit coverage.

In addition to these permit triggers, Ecology reserves the right to require permit coverage at a construction site of any size, if Ecology believes that the site may be a significant contributor of pollutants to waters of the State of Washington or reasonably expects the site to cause a violation of water quality standards.

For more information, please go to the construction stormwater homepage.
How Much Will this Permit Cost?
Permit fees for Fiscal Year 2017 (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017) range from $630 to $2,346 depending on the number of disturbed acres. For current fees, see WAC 173-224-040 (4.c) or contact Ecology.
Where Can I Get the Application for this Permit?
The application which is called 'Notice of Intent (NOI)' is online and can be accessed at
Do I Need to Include Anything with my Application?
A complete application must include certification that the public notice and State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) requirements have been met. The applicant must prepare a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) prior to starting construction, but does not need to submit it with the application.

Site operators who expect to have a discharge to waterbodies of the state that are on the 303(d) "Impaired Water Body" list will be required to provide Ecology with information in advance of permit coverage, and will be required to complete the Construction Stormwater General Permit: Proposed New Discharge to an Impaired Waterbody form. Ecology will provide this form to you after Ecology determines that the receiving waterbody is impaired. To lookup whether a water body is on the 303(d) list of Impaired Water Bodies, visit
Is the Decision on my Permit Dependent on Anything Besides the Information in my Application?
When making the decision on your permit, Ecology will consider the applicable laws and rules, the contents of your application, and the background environmental conditions.

In addition, the application for coverage has a public review requirement. This means that the public may submit comments to Ecology during the 30 day public comment period regarding the application. If any comments are received, Ecology must review and respond to the comments and take them into consideration when making the decision to issue or deny permit coverage.

The applicant must submit the application for coverage at least 60 days before discharging stormwater from construction activity and must submit it on or before the first newspaper publication date of the public notice. Information provided in the public notice must coincide with the application.

Lastly, the SEPA review must be completed before your permit coverage will be issued. As a result of the public notice, Ecology may receive public comment(s) that must be addressed before permit coverage can be issued.
How Long Will it Take to Review my Application?
WAC 173-226-200 and RCW 90.48.170: Application for permits shall be made at least 60 days prior to commencement of any proposed discharge or permit expiration date, whichever is applicable.

See the Permit Timeliness Results above for average processing times.
Where do I Submit my Application?
To the Department of Ecology, requires an electronic application using Ecology's eNOI system:
View the schematic
How Long is my Permit Valid?
The statewide general permit expires every five years, with the current permit set to expire on December 31, 2020. Coverage under the permit is valid until your site's permit coverage is revoked or terminated. If permit coverage is required past the general permit expiration date (December 31, 2020), because construction isn't complete or eligible for termination, the permittee must submit a renewal application to Ecology at least 180 days prior to the expiration date in order to continue permit coverage under the re-issued general permit.

Ecology will send notice to all active permit holders in the spring of 2020 to explain the renewal process.
What is the Appeal Process for the Permit?
You have a right to appeal this permit coverage to the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) within 30 days of issuance of this general permit. The appeal process is governed by Chapter 43.21B RCW and Chapter 173-226 WAC. “Date of receipt” is defined in RCW 43.21B.001(2). To appeal you must do both of the following within 30 days after the date of receipt of issuance of this general permit:
  • File your appeal and a copy of the permit cover page with the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) during regular business hours.
  • Serve a copy of your appeal and the permit cover page on Ecology in paper form, by mail or in person. E-mail is not accepted.
Consideration of an appeal of general permit coverage of an individual discharger is limited to the general permit’s applicability or inapplicability to that individual discharger.

    Physical Addresses
    Department of Ecology
    Attn: Appeals Processing Desk
    300 Desmond Drive SE
    Lacey, WA 98503

    Pollution Control Hearings Board
    1111 Israel Road SW, Suite 301
    Tumwater, WA 98501

    Mailing Addresses
    Department of Ecology
    Attn: Appeals Processing Desk
    P.O. Box 47608
    Olympia, WA 98504-7608

    Pollution Control Hearings Board
    P.O. Box 40903
    Olympia, WA 98504-0903
Notes / Comments:
You are required to use the electronic application (eNOI) and submit it to Ecology over the internet.
Permit Timeliness Results

Permit Timeliness data collection is in response to a State Auditor’s Performance Audit and RCW 43.42A. Each regulatory agency developed a plan to improve permit clarity, predictability, and timeliness. Each agency considers the customers experience to ensure permit assistance is simple to use, easy to access, and designed in a customer-friendly manner. Agencies report progress to the Governor’s Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance (ORIA). ORIA prepares and distributes reports, with participation from the State Auditor’s Office and Results Washington. See latest report here:

All permits submitted for reporting were entered into this Regulatory Handbook. Here are the results of the performance data:

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Process a Permit Application (Definition)
Average number of days from Receipt to Complete: 65.2
Maximum number of days from Receipt to Complete: 1474

Estimated Time Required By the Agency to Issue a Permit Decision (Definition)
Average number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 19.1
Maximum number of days from Complete Application to Decision: 242

(Summary results based on 845 submittals in 2020)

Where can I get permitting assistance?
Statewide Contact:
Department of Ecology
Water Quality Program
300 Desmond Drive
PO Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
Fax: (360) 407-6426
Telephone: (360) 407-6600
* Permit information last updated 2/8/2018
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