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Stormwater Permits

What is Stormwater?

Stormwater runoff is precipitation (rain or snow melt) that cannot be absorbed by the soil and, instead, washes off the surface of the land. As stormwater flows over a construction site it picks up pollutants, which may be transported into nearby surface waters by the runoff and can impair sport and commercial fishing, restrict swimming, and affect the navigability of many of our nation’s waters. Preventing soil erosion and sedimentation is an important responsibility at all construction sites.

In addition to the environmental impact, uncontrolled erosion can have a significant financial impact on a construction project. It cost money and time to repair gullies, replace vegetation, clean sediment-clogged storm drains, replace poorly installed best management practices (BMPs) and mitigate damage to other people’s property or to natural resources.

Stormwater Regulations

To address stormwater runoff, Congress directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a federal program to regulate certain high priority stormwater discharges. One such high priority source of pollutant loading is construction activity. EPA requires permits for stormwater discharges from both “large construction activities”* (5 or more acres) and from “small construction activities”** (1-5 acres).

On February 16,2012, EPA issued the final 2012 CGP.

For More Information

For copies of EPA’s General Permit for Construction Activities or any questions you may have, contact EPA Region 1, Thelma Murphy at Tel. (617) 918-1615 or e-mail at

For questions concerning the Boston Water and Sewer Commission’s requirements for construction related discharges and for new and reactivated service connections, contact the BWSC’s Engineering Customer Services Division at (617) 989-7000.

Large Construction Activities

Small Construction Activities