Construction site storm water permit overview

Landowners of most construction projects where one or more acres of land will be disturbed must submit an application called a Water Resource Application for Project Permits (WRAPP) (equivalent to a DNR storm water Notice of Intent or NOI) to request coverage under the Construction Site Storm Water Runoff General Permit No. WI-S067831 [PDF] A landowner is any person holding fee title, an easement or other interest in the property that allows the person to undertake land disturbing construction activity on the property.

Landowners submitting a WRAPP should read the general permit carefully because he/she is agreeing to comply with all the permit requirements. Landowners without proper permit coverage or not in compliance with the permit for a construction site may be subject to enforcement action by the DNR.

Types of construction projects regulated by DNR

Aerial photo

Aerial photo of a phased development (DNR photo)

Construction projects requiring permit coverage include activities that disturb one acre or more of land through:

  • clearing;
  • grading;
  • excavating, or
  • stockpiling of fill material.

The acreage of the entire proposed project is counted in determining permit coverage, even if the project is phased with less than one acre disturbed at any given time. A construction site includes areas that are part of a common plan of development [PDF 116KB] or sale where multiple separate and distinct land disturbing construction activities may be taking place. These activities, while under one plan, could be taking place at different times and/or on different schedules as part of a phased development.

See the full construction site code requirements at subch. III of NR 216 [PDF 191KB, Exit DNR].

Construction projects regulated by other state agencies

Some construction projects are regulated by other agencies. These projects do not need to submit a WRAPP to DNR for storm water permit coverage.

Agricultural exemptions

Discharges from agricultural activities described in s. NR 216.42, Wis. Adm. Code, and outlined below are exempt from needing a WPDES storm water construction site permit:

  1. Planting, growing, cultivating and harvesting of crops for human or livestock consumption and pasturing or yarding of livestock, including sod farms and tree nurseries. This exemption does not include the construction of structures such as barns, manure storage facilities or barnyard runoff control systems.
  2. Silviculture activities, including tree nursery operations, tree harvesting operations, reforestation, tree thinning, prescribed burning, and pest and fire control are not regulated by this NR21. Clearing and grubbing of an area of a construction site is not a silviculture activity. Please note: certain lumber, wood and paper product manufacturers may require coverage under an industrial PDES permit for storm water discharges pursuant to subch. II of Ch. NR 216. A silviculture activity may require approval pursuant to ch. 30 or 31, Wis. Stats., or under U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers Section 404 permit, 33 USC 1344.

Special reviews required for construction projects

Before conferring permit coverage, the department reviews the submitted information for potential impacts of the project on the following resources.

Marsh Wetland

Blandings Turtle

Blandings Turtle

Mound at Aztalan Park
(Photo by Wisconsin Historical Society)

Landowners can research possible wetland impacts or presence of endangered/threatened resources using the web links provided above. For registered historical/archaelogical sites, the landowner should contact the appropriate DNR regional storm water staff as early as possible during project development to determine if the project will come in contact with any of these resources.

See a listing of assured wetland delineators.

The permit process can be streamlined with early consideration of these special reviews. Otherwise, delays can occur.

Construction site erosion control and storm water discharge permit requirements

The landowner/person responsible for the construction site must do the following.
  1. Develop an erosion control and storm water management plan describing the best management practices that will be used on-site for erosion control consistent with the requirements of the Construction Site Storm Water Runoff General Permit No. WI-S067831-4 [PDF 526KB]. Wisconsin construction and post-construction technical standards were written by the DNR to assist landowners and contractors in developing a Construction Site Erosion Control and Storm Water Management Plan required under ch. NR 216 [PDF 191KB, Exit DNR].
  2. Submit a Water Resources Application for Project Permits (WRAPP) (equivalent to the NOI) form to the DNR at least 14 working days before construction will begin. To avoid potential construction delays, DNR staff recommends submitting a WRAPP as early in the project design process as possible. For coverage under a construction site storm water permit, check the Storm Water NOI box on the form. This form can also be used to obtain other Waterway and Wetlands Permits from the DNR if needed for construction near wetlands, streams and other waterways.
  3. Print out a copy and read the Construction Site Storm Water Runoff General Permit.
  4. Submit the applicable fee:
    Acres of Land Disturbance Application Fee
    At least 1 but less than 5 $ 140
    5 or more and less than 25 $ 235
    25 or greater $ 350
  5. Implement best management practices, as described in the erosion control and storm water management plan(s) to help control erosion and prevent contamination of storm water.
  6. Conduct weekly on-site inspections through the duration of the project. The Construction Site Inspection Report Form [PDF 79KB] may be used to document inspections.
  7. File a Notice of Termination [PDF 29KB] once the project is complete.
  8. Contact the appropriate DNR Regional Storm Water Specialist with questions at any time.
Last revised: Friday January 10 2014