Ask the Expert, Environmental Permitting

Do Renovations Trigger the Need for a Construction Stormwater Permit?

Q. We recently purchased an existing building, but renovations need to be completed prior to moving into the building. What types of indoor/outdoor activities would trigger the need for a permit?

A. This is a great question and the answer is not as clear as one would think. The original construction stormwater permit was likely terminated once site stabilization was achieved. The confusion arises when new owners come in and do some remodeling, they can unearth so to speak new constructions stormwater requirements.

Generally, construction stormwater permits state that any clearing, grading, excavating, grubbing and/or filling activities that disturb one acre or more of land or are part of the larger common plan of development must obtain permit coverage. Renovating areas such as parking lots, grassy areas, drive ways, or piping, you may hit the threshold disturbance of an acre that will require you to obtain a new construction stormwater permit.

Now, your site may be eligible for a waiver and you will not need a permit. If your site is part of the common plan of development but disturbs at least one acre but less than 5 acres you may qualify. You have to certify this in writing to the state with some other requirements that your site meets a low erosivity waiver or Total maximum daily load (TMDL) waiver.

When it comes to stormwater regulations, read the permit. Everything you need to follow is within the confines of the permit.