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Wetland detention pond near a car dealership

Wetland detention pond near a car dealership

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DNR storm water staff

Storm water management (construction and industrial)

The goal of the storm water program is to prevent the movement of pollutants to Wisconsin’s water resources by ways of runoff. To achieve this goal, there are two types of storm water permits: construction and industrial. Construction permits focus in on land disturbing activities that a business may perform when building or expanding. Industrial permits focus in on the activities that occur as part of the businesses operations (outside storage, utilization of heavy equipment).

The interactive questionaire below will help you determine if you need a permit prior to site construction and/or whether your facility needs an industrial storm water permit. First we must determine if you need a construction storm water permit.


1. Are you a new commercial business?

A commercial business is one that purchases goods wholesale and operates a retail location where they sell directly to the public. Examples include:

  • gas stations;
  • box stores (e.g. K-Mart); and
  • grocery stores.

If your answer is "Yes,” go to 6.

If your answer is "No,” go to 2.


2. Will your project require building a new facility, expanding an existing facility or other land disturbance?

Selecting "No" will take you to the industrial storm water management pages.

If your answer is "Yes,” go to 3.

If your answer is "No,” go to 9.


3.

Would you like to review information on best management practices for controlling storm water during construction? Select "Green land development: Save dollars and the environment" below to provide you with ideas on minimizing and controlling storm water runoff.

Green land development: Save dollars and the environment

To find out how you can save money and minimize land disturbance on your project site, read on.

Up-front planning

Minimizing the amount of impervious areas during the design phase of your project is important. By reducing amounts of blacktop and concrete used (substituting non-paved, gravel pathways, parking areas) and running roof drains, gutters and downspouts to natural swales or grassy areas, you can save dollars that would otherwise be spent on storm sewer fees and ongoing maintenance costs.

Up-front planning can include creating grassy swales or leaving natural areas thereby allowing rainwater to be absorbed instead of ending up as runoff. This can lead to positive public recognition, as well.
Up-front planning can include creating grassy swales or leaving natural areas thereby allowing rainwater to be absorbed instead of ending up as runoff. This can lead to positive public recognition, as well.

Department store layout incorporating grass swales, turf pavers and grouped plantings. Up-front planning can include creating grassy swales or leaving natural areas thereby allowing rainwater to be absorbed instead of ending up as runoff. This can lead to positive public recognition, as well. Drawing by Robert W. Droll, Landscape architect.

Conserve trees during construction to provide water retention and shade. Photo used with permission from the Center for Watershed Protection.
Conserve trees during construction to provide water retention and shade. Photo used with permission from the Center for Watershed Protection.

Filling and grading

When looking at the parcel in which you plan to develop for your small business, consider alternatives to clearing, grading, filling and disposal such as preserving your valuable natural areas. If you see areas with existing trees, shrubs and groundcover on your property, you can save money by leaving them in place.

Not only will you save on rising landscaping costs (landscaping, lawn mowing, etc.), you may be able to avoid storm water issues related to water quality and amount of less pervious and impervious surfaces such as compacted lawns and blacktop.

How much land will be disturbed?

If your answer is "Less than one acre,” go to 4.

If your answer is "Greater than or equal to one acre,” go to 5.


4. Construction erosion control

A permit is not required if you are disturbing less than one acre. Minimizing land disturbance, however, is vital towards saving dollars associated with landscaping and ongoing maintenance, and protecting watersheds and nearby water bodies.

By allowing islands of vegetation to remain during construction activities, your small business can save money and protect the watershed and nearby waterways.

By allowing islands of vegetation to remain during construction activities, your small business can save money and protect the watershed and nearby waterways.

commercial building next to water body
Commercial building next to water body

NOTE: If your proposed facility is near surface waters or wetlands you may need a DNR Waterway and Wetlands permit. Please refer to the Waterway protection for more information.

Would you like to review pollution prevention options?

Select "Review pollution prevention options" below to provide you with ideas to reduce your impact on storm water runoff.

If you don’t want to review the P2 page, please select "Continue to Industrial storm water management".

If your answer is "Review pollution prevention options,” go to 8.

If your answer is "Continue to Industrial storm water management,” go to 9.


5. You have greater than or equal to one acre.

If your small business plans include disturbing one or more acres of land (one acre = approx 210 feet by 210 feet of land area) you will need to apply for a construction storm water management permit.

NOTE: If your proposed facility is near surface waters or wetlands you may also need a DNR waterway and wetlands permit. Please refer to the Waterway protection for more information.

A construction permit is required for an indirect source if your plan:

  • proposes more than 350,000 square feet of impervious surface dedicated to parking and maneuver and is located in a metropolitan county; or
  • proposes more than 525,000 square feet of impervious surface dedicated to parking and manuever and is located outside a metropolitan county.

More information is available on the Indirect source permits web page.

The Department of Natural Resources has developed a series of construction site erosion and sediment control technical standards that replace the Wisconsin Construction Site Best Management Practice Handbook. Each technical standard can be downloaded from the internet at Storm water management technical standards.

Applying for your construction storm water management permit

Please complete the following two steps in order to apply for a construction storm water permit. When you've finished completing them, select "Operational Storm Water Management" to continue.

Complete the following form: Notice of Intent: Industrial Storm Water Discharge General Permit (3500-163) [PDF]

Click on "Review the Construction and long term storm water management — Photo essay" to review the photo-enhanced information on the next page which provides guidance on what elements are needed when writing your erosion control and storm water management plans.

If your answer is "Review the Construction and long term storm water management — Photo essay,” go to 8.


6. Will there be any land disturbing activities on your business site?


If your answer is "Yes,” go to 7.

If your answer is "No,” go to 9.


7. Communication information

Generally, the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) is granted erosion control authority over commerial building (Wis. Stats. Chapter 283). Federal and state law requires that your business obtain permit coverage before initial land disturbing activity occurs if the project will result in one or more acres of land disturbance (once acre = approx 210 feet by 210 feet of land area).

NOTE: If your proposed facility is near surface waters or wetlands you may also need a DNR Waterway and Wetlands permit. Please refer to Waterway protection for more information. If your development proposes a large scale parking area or parking structure, an indirect source air permit may be required priot to construction. Please refer to the Indirect source permit for more information.

To determine what permits and approvals may be required, please contact a Department of Safety and Professional Services staffperson(s). After you visit the Department of Safety and Professional Services web site, please select the appropriate button (below) to determine if you need an operational storm water permit.

Would you like to review pollution prevention options?

Select "Yes" below to provide you with ideas to reduce your impact on storm water runoff.

If you don’t want to review the P2 page, please select the "No" button below. This link will take you to the Industrial storm water management pages.

If your answer is "Yes,” go to 8.

If your answer is "No,” go to 9.


8. Construction and long term storm water management - Photo essay

This photo essay was designed to show some methods used to control erosion before, during and after construction and to review some long term storm water management methods installed prior to your business operations.

Before reading the following photo essay, note that technical guidance documents are available to assist you in creating your plan.

Construction storm water management (erosion control)

When beginning to locate your small business on a new property, it is important to design your site with erosion control and construction storm water management practices in mind. Minimizing land disturbance and keeping native vegetation and soils in place will have the greatest long term impact on protecting the watershed and any nearby water bodies (lakes, rivers and wetland areas) — the ultimate destination of storm water runoff. This up-front planning will save dollars otherwise earmarked for storm sewer fees, lawn creation and maintenance costs, and disposal charges, to name a few.

Protecting islands of vegetation can greatly increase the stormwater-absorbing ability of your new business site and can enhance its aesthetic appeal.
Protecting islands of vegetation can greatly increase the stormwater-absorbing ability of your new business site and can enhance its aesthetic appeal.

An excellent resource published by UW Extension is Preserving Trees During Construction.

But some land disturbance will ultimately occur due to building footprint needs, parking areas, driveways, etc. Since a construction and long term storm water management plan is required prior to any construction activities, please read through the following key points to assist you in creating and implementing sound erosion control and flow management plans for your small business site.

Site phasing

When first creating your erosion control plan, try to design site phasing into the construction. Site phasing minimizes soil erosion by having smaller portions of your site disturbed at any one time (e.g. fitting the development to the topographic "lay of the land", minimizing the development footprint by clearing only the land required for buildings, roads, and utilities, and providing buffers from natural drainage systems and water bodies).

Sediment controls

An example of a properly installed silt fence
An example of a properly installed silt fence

Sediment control practices are designed to remove some of the soil particles that are suspended in runoff. By using properly installed silt fencing, straw bales, sediment traps or sediment basins, any sediment or other materials will be held in place on the construction site and not end up in wetlands, lakes, or rivers. These should be written into the erosion control plan and installed within 24 hours of any land disturbance.

Silt fencing, if installed improperly, can cause a greater release during a major rainfall event.

A good source of information on proper installation of straw bales and silt fences is the UW Extension publication Erosion Control for Home Builders. This document covers the more common erosion control practices used during development of a site.

An improper silt fence installation
An improper silt fence installation

Erosion controls

Turf Reinforcement Matting
Turf reinforcement matting

Protective blankets hold soil in place and help establish ground cover.
Protective blankets hold soil in place and help establish ground cover.

Mulches, blankets and matting, seeding and soil stabilizers are used to stabilize a recently disturbed area and minimize the dislodging of soil particles by raindrop impacts and flowing water. Some advantages include: reducing flow velocities of storm water through the area and reducing moisture loss when seeding and planting is done. They prevent crusting and sealing of the soil surface and moderate soil temperatures. This allows seed germination to occur more readily. And they increase infiltration of storm water at the site.

Mulching: A protective blanket of straw or other plant residue, gravel or synthetic material applied to the soil surface to minimize raindrop impact energy and runoff, foster vegetative growth, reduce evaporation, insulate the soil, and suppress weed growth. Mulch provides immediate protection, and straw mulch is also typically used as a matrix for spreading plant seed. Organic mulches such as straw, wood chips and shredded bark have been found to be the most effective. Straw typically requires some kind of tacking, such as liquid emulsions or netting. Netting may also be needed to hold mulch in place on slopes.

Mats and blankets are made from a wide variety of organic and synthetic materials and are useful in establishing grass in swales and waterways, plus they promote seedling growth.

Erosion control products availability list

Erosion Control Product Availability Lists (PAL) — Wisconsin DOT

The above list was compiled by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to highlight advances in erosion mats, soil stabilizers, tackifiers and silt fences.

Long term storm water management plan (Flow management)

Wet detention basin
Wet detention basin

Planning for long term collection and treatment of storm water runoff early in your site planning process will save dollars and protect nearby waterways. When writing the long-term storm water management portion of your plan, include the following commonly used practices. These practices, when used solely, or in combination, will hold back sediment while allowing runoff water to seep slowly back into the ground.

Wet detention basins

A permanent pool of water with designed dimensions, inlets, outlets and storage capacity, constructed to collect, detain, treat and release stormwater runoff. The wet detention basin is the most common long-term stormwater management practice used in Wisconsin.

Infiltration basins and trenches

Infiltation basins or detention ponds are used to hold sediment while allowing stormwater to seep into the ground.
Infiltration basins or detention ponds are used to hold sediment while allowing stormwater to seep into the ground.

Infiltration basins and trenches are used to hold sediment in place, preventing it from choking out and making wetlands ineffective or adding to silty deposits in nearby rivers and lakes. These basins can be very important during larger storms when other storm water management practices cannot treat or recharge runoff as well.


Grass swales or filter strips clean the stormwater while allowing it to absorb into the ground.
Grass swales or filter strips clean the stormwater while allowing it to absorb into the ground.

Grassed swales

Grassed swales function by slowing runoff as it comes off an impervious surface (such as the principal parking area for your business). The grassed swale can remove sediments and other pollutants and provides some infiltration into the soil. A drawback, however, is that they can be ineffective at treating and absorbing runoff during a larger rain event.


Stormwater ponds can be visually appealing, provide cover for amphibians, birds, and small mammals, and educate children on the importance of watershed protection.
Stormwater ponds can be visually appealing, provide cover for amphibians, birds and small mammals, and educate children on the importance of watershed protection.

Storm water wetlands (a.k.a. constructed wetlands, artificial wetlands)

Storm water wetlands are shallow pools that have wetland plants which remove pollutants through biological uptake. They are among the most beneficial in removing pollutants and are aesthetically pleasing, as well. Storm water wetlands can provide educational and habitat benefits and can be incorporated into any existing ponds or swales you may already have in place.


Parking lots – pavers, porous concrete and bioretention islands

Can your small business design a better parking lot? According to Watershed Protection Techniques [3(2): 647] "parking lots rank among the most harmful land uses in any watershed. They not only collect pollutants that are deposited from the atmosphere, but also accumulate pollutants that leak, drip or wear off cars."

The article also mentions several design ideas such as reducing stall sizes, narrowing drive aisles and using innovative materials and practices such as grid pavers, porous concrete and bioretention islands (photos below) to absorb storm water.

There are several other long term flow management practices that can be incorporated into your site design to minimize your impact to the local watershed and save you money. Please refer to the "Related Links" (button found along the right margin of most pages within the Small Business Web Site) topic when you have completed the other topics.

There are several inovative ways to allow stormwater to absorb into the ground such as pavers (interlocking blocks) and porous concrete.

There are several inovative ways to allow stormwater to absorb into the ground
such as pavers (interlocking blocks) and porous concrete.
© Johnson Controls

Bioretention islands can be built into your parking lot design to catch and absorb stormwater. The island can be planted with a variety of native plants to beautify your parking facilities, as well.

Bioretention islands can be built into your parking lot design to catch and absorb stormwater.
The island can be planted with a variety of native plants to beautify your parking facilities, as well.
© Johnson Controls

Concrete lattice closeup
Concrete lattice closeup
Concrete lattice installed in gas station parking lot
Concrete lattice installed in
gas station parking lot
Lattice closeup
Lattice closeup

Some photos used with permission from the Center for Watershed Protection.

Need to backtrack? Return to:



9. Industrial storm water management: Which tier are you?

As stated earlier, the storm water program has two types of permits: construction and industrial. You have already determined if you need a construction permit. Now you need to see if your business will be required to have an operational permit.

Look at the following lists of business types below to determine which tier you fall under. (Note that there are ways to move into a less stringent tier by adopting certain pollution prevention strategies.)

TIER 1 — Heavy Manufacturers

If your business falls into one of the below categories, please select the TIER 1 button below.

  • Chemical and allied products
  • Fabricated structural metal
  • Facilities with bulk storage piles for coal, metallic and non-metallic minerals and ores, and scrap
  • Leather tanning and finishing
  • Lumber and wood products
  • Metal scrap yards, battery reclaimers, salvage yards and recyclers of scrap and waste material
  • Paper and allied products
  • Petroleum refining
  • Primary metal industries
  • Ship and boat building and repair
  • Stone, clay, glass and concrete products
TIER 2 — Light Manufacturers

If your business falls into one of the below categories, please select the TIER 2 button below.

  • Apparel and other textile products
  • Coal mining
  • Drugs
  • Electronic and other electrical equipment and components
  • Fabricated metal products
  • Farm product warehousing and storage
  • Food and kindred products
  • Furniture and fixtures
  • General warehousing and storage
  • Industrial and commercial machinery and computer equipment
  • Instruments and related products
  • Leather and leather products
  • Local and interurban passenger transit
  • Metal mining
  • Miscellaneous converted paper products
  • Miscellaneous manufacturing industries
  • Non-metallic minerals, except fuels
  • Oil and gas extraction
  • Paints and allied products
  • Paperboard containers and boxes
  • Parking lots — large scale
  • Petroleum bulk stations and terminals
  • Printing, publishing and allied industries
  • Products of purchased glass
  • Railroad transportation
  • Refrigerated warehousing and storage
  • Rubber and miscellaneous plastics products
  • Textile mill products
  • Tobacco products
  • Transportation by air
  • Transportation equipment
  • Trucking and warehousing
  • U.S. Postal Service
  • Water transportation
  • Wood kitchen cabinets

If your answer is "TIER 1,” go to 10.

If your answer is "TIER 2,” go to 11.


10. You have chosen TIER 1.

There are ways to avoid the need for Tier 1/Tier 2 permitting. Would you like to review pollution prevention options? Select "Ways to avoid becoming a Tier 1 facility" below to provide you with ideas to reduce your impact on storm water runoff.

Ways to avoid becoming a Tier 1 facility

To find out how you can save money and minimize rainwater contamination on your site, read on.

Storing Materials Inside

By storing any substances used in your processes inside, they won't be in contact with rainwater or snowmelt and thereby reduce contaminated runoff at your site.

Are you eligible for a No Exposure certification? Please review the requirements.

No Exposure

A condition of no exposure exists at an industrial facility when all industrial materials and activities are protected by a storm resistant shelter to prevent exposure to rain, snow, snowmelt, and/or runoff. Industrial materials or activities include, but are not limited to, material handling equipment or activities, industrial machinery, raw materials, intermediate products, by-products, final products or waste products. Material handling activities include the storage, loading and unloading, transportation, or conveyance of any raw material, intermediate product, final product or waste product. A storm resistant shelter is not required for the following industrial materials and activities:

  • drums, barrels, tanks, and similar containers that are tightly sealed, provided those containers are not deteriorated and do not leak. "Sealed" means banded or otherwise secured and without operational taps or valves;
  • adequately maintained vehicles used in material handling; and
  • final products, other than products that would be mobilized in storm water discharges (e.g., rock salt).

To maintain your No Exposure status, submit a No Exposure Certification for Exclusion from WPDES Industrial Storm Water Permitting (3400-188) [PDF] every five years.

Tier 1 facilities

The Tier 1 general permit covers the "heavy" industries such as lumber and wood products, paper and allied products, chemical and allied products, stone, clay, glass and concrete products and primary metal industries to name a few.

NOTE: If you are constructing a new facility, portions of your Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) need to be submitted prior to commencement of operations.

Please review the chart below for the requirements under Tier 1 then follow the steps immediately following this chart.

Comparison of Industrial Storm Water Discharge
General Permit Requirements by Tier
Action Tier 1 Tier 2
Identify & Eliminate Non-permitted Outfalls Yes Yes
Follow Good Housekeeping Practices Yes Yes
Complete Annual Facility Site Compliance Inspections Yes Yes
Complete Quarterly Visual Monitoring Yes Yes
Develop a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan Yes Yes
Implement Source-area BMPs per the SWPPP Yes Yes
Perform Annual Chemical Monitoring Yes No
Submit a Permit Fee Annually Yes ($260) Yes ($130)

Forms*

  1. Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan Summary: Industrial Storm Water Discharges General Permit (SWPPP) (3400-167) [PDF] and Example Plan Is to be completed prior to the start of operations.
  2. Notice of Intent (NOI) Industrial Storm Water Discharge General Permit (3400-163) [PDF] This form is submitted once your Storm water Pollution Prevention Plan and Plan Summary is completed. You will be billed a fee when this form is received (see chart).
  3. Annual Facility Site Compliance Inspection Report (AFSCI) For Storm Water Discharges Associated With Industrial Activity Under Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) Permit (3400-176) [PDF]
  4. Quarterly Visual Inspection — Field Sheet (3400-176A) [PDF]
  5. Storm Water Chemical Analysis Report (3400-176B) [PDF]

*If you receive a "Please wait" message, please check out PDF help.

Wisconsin Guidance for Industrial Storm Water Sampling

This document explains permit requirements for storm water sampling at industrial sites in Wisconsin. You also learn how to establish a sampling program and make appropriate collections of storm water samples. It is primarily designed to help the owners/operators of an industrial site in the planning for and fulfilling of the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) Tier 1 Storm Water Discharge permit sampling requirements.

If you do need laboratory services, please refer to the listing of Wisconsin certified lab.

Please contact the storm water management staff covering your business location for additional information or if you have any questions.

Continue on to Wastewater.


11. You have chosen TIER 2.

There are ways to avoid the need for Tier 1/Tier 2 permitting. Would you like to review pollution prevention options? Select "Ways to avoid becoming a Tier 2 facility" below to provide you with ideas to reduce your impact on storm water runoff.

Ways to avoid becoming a Tier 2 facility

To find out how you can save money and minimize rainwater contamination on your site, read on.

Storing Materials Inside

By storing any substances used in your processes inside, they won’t be in contact with rainwater or snowmelt and thereby reduce contaminated runoff at your site.

Are you eligible for a No Exposure certification? Please review the requirements.

No Exposure

A condition of no exposure exists at an industrial facility when all industrial materials and activities are protected by a storm resistant shelter to prevent exposure to rain, snow, snowmelt, and/or runoff. Industrial materials or activities include, but are not limited to, material handling equipment or activities, industrial machinery, raw materials, intermediate products, by-products, final products or waste products. Material handling activities include the storage, loading and unloading, transportation, or conveyance of any raw material, intermediate product, final product or waste product. A storm resistant shelter is not required for the following industrial materials and activities:

  • drums, barrels, tanks and similar containers that are tightly sealed, provided those containers are not deteriorated and do not leak. "Sealed" means banded or otherwise secured and without operational taps or valves;
  • adequately maintained vehicles used in material handling; and
  • final products, other than products that would be mobilized in storm water discharges (e.g., rock salt).

To maintain your No Exposure status, submit a No Exposure Certification for Exclusion from WPDES Industrial Storm Water Permitting (3400-188) [PDF] every five years.

Tier 2 facilities

The Tier 2 general permit covers the "light" industries such as furniture manufacturing, printing, warehousing and textiles.

NOTE: If you are constructing a new facility, portions of your Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) need to be submitted prior to commencement of operations.

Please review the chart below for the requirements under Tier 2 then follow the steps immediately following this chart.

Comparison of Industrial Storm Water Discharge
General Permit Requirements by Tier
Action Tier 1 Tier 2
Identify & Eliminate Non-permitted Outfalls Yes Yes
Follow Good Housekeeping Practices Yes Yes
Complete Annual Facility Site Compliance Inspections Yes Yes
Complete Quarterly Visual Monitoring Yes Yes
Develop a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan Yes Yes
Implement Source-area BMPs per the SWPPP Yes Yes
Perform Annual Chemical Monitoring Yes No
Submit a Permit Fee Annually Yes ($260) Yes ($130)

Forms*

  1. Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan Summary: Industrial Storm Water Discharges General Permit (SWPPP) (3400-167) [PDF] and Example Plan is to be completed prior to the start of operations.
  2. Notice of Intent (NOI) Industrial Storm Water Discharge General Permit (3400-163) [PDF] This form is submitted once your Storm water Pollution Prevention Plan and Plan Summary is completed. You will be billed a fee when this form is received (see chart).
  3. Annual Facility Site Compliance Inspection Report (AFSCI) For Storm Water Discharges Associated With Industrial Activity Under Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) Permit (3400-176) [PDF]
  4. Quarterly Visual Inspection — Field Sheet (3400-176A) [PDF]

*If you receive a "Please wait" message, please check out PDF help.

Wisconsin Guidance for Industrial Storm Water Sampling

This document explains permit requirements for storm water sampling at industrial sites in Wisconsin. You also learn how to establish a sampling program and make appropriate collections of storm water samples. It is primarily designed to help the owners/operators of an industrial site in the planning for and fulfilling of the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) Tier 1 Storm Water Discharge permit sampling requirements.

If you do need laboratory services, please refer to the listing of Wisconsin certified lab.

Please contact the storm water management staff covering your business location for additional information or if you have any questions.

Continue on to Wastewater.

Last Revised: Friday August 23 2019