Skip Navigation
Drawing tools
 

QUICK LINKS

 

City of

San Luis Obispo Storm Water Management Program

919 Palm Street

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

(805) 781-7530

 

 


 
City of San Luis ObispoPublic Works Department

 

CONSTRUCTION SITE                 SearchContact UsCity Home

                         - NPDES INFORMATION!

Stormwater Homepage - To return to the Stormwater Management Program Homepage, Click Here!

BRIEF HISTORY ON NPDES

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) was originally created as an amendment to the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1972 and established a permit program to control water pollution by regulating the discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States.  Initially, NPDES permits focused on regulating point source pollution which originates from a definite source, such as industrial facilities, and discharges at a specific point.  In the early 1970s, only one-third of the nation’s waters were considered safe for fishing and swimming.  Through the advancement of CWA and NPDES, two-thirds of the nation’s waters were considered safe by the mid 1990s.

In 1987, an amendment to the CWA directed the NPDES program to address non-point source (NPS) pollution through a phased approach.  NPS pollution does not have a specific origin or discharge location but is considered to be general surface runoff containing pollutants from streets, parking lots, construction sites, homes, businesses and many other sources.

Phase I of the NPDES permit program began in 1990 and applied to construction sites disturbing 5 or more acres of soil and municipalities with populations equal to 100,000 or more.

Phase II of the NPDES permit program became effective on March 10, 2003 and applied to construction sites disturbing between 1 and 5 acres of soil and municipalities with populations between 10,000 and 100,000.  Phase II of the NPDES permit program specifically affects the City of San Luis Obispo region.  For detailed information, please refer to the State Water Resources Quality Control Board (“SWRCB”), San Luis Obispo Region website.

NPDES is a federally mandated program that is implemented and enforced locally.  Currently, all construction sites disturbing 1 or more acres of soil or that are less than an acre but are part of a larger project (i.e. one acre or more) that originally required a SWPPP must obtain an NPDES General Permit from the State Water Resources Quality Control Board (“SWRCB”), San Luis Obispo Region.

KEY POINTS:

Construction Site Clean-Up Activity - During any cleaning activity, for example pressure washing or cleaning of tools on a construction site should not result in any water run-off whatsoever.  Simply remember this, the only thing that should go down a storm drain is water from a rain event!

Pressure Washing Activities - Refer to Public Outreach Section for Details.

Return to top

GENERAL PERMIT

Project owners are required to submit a complete Notice of Intent (NOI) package to the SWRCB.  A complete NOI package consists of an NOI form, site map and fee.  The General Permit also requires the development and implementation of a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).  The SWPPP should contain a site map which shows the construction site perimeter, existing and proposed buildings, lots, roadways, storm water collection and discharge points, general topography both before and after construction, and drainage patterns across the project.  The SWPPP must list Best Management Practices (BMPs) the discharger will use to protect storm water runoff and the placement of those BMPs.

Agricultural construction related to reservoirs, access avenues and structures are still subject to the General Permit requirement.

The State Water Resources Quality Control Board (“SWRCB”), San Luis Obispo Region website has more information regarding the General Permit and associated requirements.

Projects under one acre in size:  Even if a construction project is exempt from the General Permit requirements, it is not exempt from discharging polluted runoff under City of San Luis Obispo Municipal Code and the City's SWMP.  In addition, from January 1, 2011 on under the newly adopted Green Building Standards all project proponents must develop and implement a SWPPP even for projects that are less than one acre in size.  Projects that are less than one acre in size which were never part of a larger common project that required a SWPPP must still develop a Water Pollution Control Plan and implement various Control Measures and Best Management Practices to protect local water quality.  For more information concerning Green Building Standards please contact the City of San Luis Obispo Building and Safety Division at (805) 781-7180.

California Green Building Codes 2010:  Effective January 1, 2011 under the newly adopted Green Building Standards all project proponents must develop and implement a Water Pollution Control Plan (WPCP or  SWPPP) even for projects that are less than one acre in size.  Projects that are less than one acre in size which were never part of a larger common project that required a SWPPP must still develop a Water Pollution Control Plan (WPCP) and implement various Control Measures and Best Management Practices to protect local water quality. Thus, these regulations specifically apply to small projects (i.e. land size) that involve the construction of new buildings, remodeling projects and even tenant improvements. To streamline this process staff within the Building and Safety Division have developed a template Water Pollution Control Plan which should be submitted with all Building applications for projects not requiring a SWPPP. For additional information to CalGreen Building Codes 2010 click here! A completed plan must be submitted to the City's Building Division and approved by Building staff prior to the start of any activity (i.e. grubbing, grading) on the site.  For additional information please refer to the California Building Standards Commission website at: http://www.bsc.ca.gov/CALGreen/default.htm or to the City of San Luis Obispo's Stormwater Public Outreach webpage concerning Building Application Stormwater Elements at: http://www.slocity.org/publicworks/stormwater/1intro.asp#PUBLIC_OUTREACH to access an informational brochure to developing a water pollution control plan and to a water pollution control plan template.

MUNICIPAL PERMIT

Municipalities are required to obtain Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) Permits which regulate storm water discharges.  MS4 permits are issued by Regional Water Quality Control Boards {(RWQCB -State Water Resources Quality Control Board (“SWRQCB”), San Luis Obispo Region} and are usually issued to a group of co-permittees encompassing an entire metropolitan area.  The City of San Luis Obispo is regulated by just one RWQCB and has one MS4 permit.

The MS4 permit requires the discharger to develop and implement a Storm Water Management Program with the goal of reducing the discharge of pollutants to the maximum extent practicable.  The City has developed a Storm Water Management Plan which specifies what BMPs will be used to address which program areas.  The program areas include public education and outreach, illicit discharge detection and elimination, construction activities, post-construction storm water management, and good housekeeping for municipal operations.

Visit the State Water Resources Quality Control Board (“SWRQCB”), San Luis Obispo Region website for more information regarding MS4 Permits and associated requirements.

Return to top

 
PUBLIC NOTICES
  • PUBLIC NOTICES - What’s new that is coming down the pipeline and how it may impact or affect your daily life and/or business!

 
REQUIREMENTS - AN OVERVIEW
  • OVERVIEW

    The City of San Luis Obispo is committed to improving local water quality and reducing the amount of pollutants {i.e. pollutants of concern, “POC” – bacteria & viruses, gross pollutants, hydrocarbons, oil & grease, metals, nutrients, organics, pesticides, pH altering residue, sediment, solid waste (i.e. trash) and etcetera} that enter our precious waterways. Construction sites have long been identified as a large contributor to urban runoff pollution when the proper pollution prevention practices are not implemented. Residual run-off from construction sites has a direct impact on our local water quality, local waterways and the habitat living in those environments. Erosion and sediment transportation on construction sites within the City of San Luis Obispo have added additional pollutants and sediments to our local waterways. Under Phase II Storm Water Regulations (Federal Clean Water Act) we can no longer allow any water run-off of any nature (i.e. potable, clean, contaminated and etcetera) from any construction site from entering the City’s Stormwater Conveyance System (“SCS” - i.e. gutters, streets, storm drains, creeks and etcetera).

    The City of San Luis Obispo is well into its second year under permit (i.e. Storm Water Management Plan – SWMP) and, thus most are familiar with the requirements that all construction related projects must implement in order to protect local water quality.  Protecting local water quality, both surface and ground water must be a priority during all construction projects. Managing potential discharges of pollutants of concern {“POC” – bacteria & viruses, gross pollutants, hydrocarbons, oil & grease, metals, nutrients, organics, pesticides, pH altering residue, sediment, solid waste (i.e. trash) and etcetera} from construction sites is critical to the success of the City achieving compliance with the state and federal government’s strict mandates geared towards protecting water quality. These mandates affect all aspects of the construction industry: asphalt work, concrete work, excavating activities, general construction activities, drywall work, grading activities, landscape construction, landscape installation, painting projects, plaster work, pool installation, simple tile work, utility installations and repairs both over head and underground to name just a few. All project owners and/or applicants must implement various Best Management Practices on all construction projects whether a permit is required or not for the project.  Some projects will require the development, submittal and implementation of what is known as a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), a Water Pollution Control Plan (WPCP) or just have appropriate control measures (CM) in place to prevent the potential discharge of potential pollutants of concern from the site. 

    Existing Storm Water Management Requirements:

    In compliance with the various federal and state mandates the City of San Luis Obispo has developed and implemented numerous rules and regulations that protect local water quality. The combined effect of all of these regulations requires all members of the construction team to prevent the pollution of our local water, both surface and ground. All members of the construction team, from the owner, developer, general contractor, sub-contractors and hired help are responsible for illicit discharges (i.e. run-off from a construction site). This obligation begins prior to any activity on the site and continues long after the site is constructed and sold. Special measures (i.e. “Control Measures”) along with the implementation of various Best Management Practices (BMPs) must be incorporated into each construction project during all phases in order to ensure the protection of our local water quality, both surface and ground.

     

    Best Management Practices can be defined as the implementation of various routines into daily work activities to prevent the pollution of our local water table, creeks, bays and ocean. These routines must be implemented on all construction sites throughout the entire year (i.e. dry and rainy season). During the rainy season (i.e. October 15th – April 15th) additional seasonal specific BMPs must implemented on all construction sites. In addition, contractors must have on site throughout the year specific devices (i.e. fiber rolls, silt fencing, gravel bags) that are designed specifically to address the discharge of POCs during inclement weather conditions (i.e. rain events). When a rain event during the dry season (i.e. April 16th – October 14th) of a specific certainty (i.e. 50% chance of rain) is predicted then these additional seasonal specific devices must be deployed prior to the rain event. There are two main categories of BMPs or Control Measures (CMs):  Primary and Secondary. 

    Primary Control Measures (PCMs):  PCMs are often more cost effective and more reliable than Secondary Control Measures. The main objective of PCMs is to prevent erosion. Erosion CMs are practices that prevent soil particles from becoming dislodged by wind, during rain events and/or vehicle transport. These measures must be implemented all year long. Some of the more typical PCMs include, but are not limited to the following: 

    §        Construction Road Stabilization: Access roads, subdivision roads, parking areas and other on-site vehicle transportation routes should be stabilized immediately after grading and frequently maintained to prevent erosion and control dust.

    §        Concrete / Equipment Washouts: All construction sites require the establishment of a designated concrete / tool washout location. Prior to the start of construction estimate and plan for appropriate number, size, and location(s) of all concrete washout location(s). Concrete / equipment washouts must be lined with plastic (10ml minimum). Inspect and maintain all concrete washouts weekly. Clean out all concrete wash outs when they are ½ full and replace as needed.

    •  Never site a concrete / equipment washout within 50’ of a storm drain inlet or 150’ up gradient of a creek or directly over a known underground spring or seep.

    §       Dust Control: Measures used to stabilize soil from wind erosion, and reduce dust generated by construction activities are required all year long.  Common dust control measures include the use of water and / or polymer based tackifying agents.

    §       Geotextiles and Mats: Mats made of natural or synthetic material are used to temporarily or permanently stabilize soil and should be deployed as soon as practical where appropriate.

    §       Material Stockpiles: All material stockpiles (i.e. base materials, dirt, sand, compost, wood bark, etcetera) on and off site must be covered to prevent wind drift of these materials all year long. In addition, all material stockpiles must be surrounded by fiber rolls or silt fencing all year long to prevent wind drift.

    §       Mulching: Mulching is used to temporarily and permanently stabilize cleared or freshly seeded areas. Deploy mulching activities on all disturbed soil areas, as soon as practical and where appropriate.

    §       Preserve Vegetation: Only grade those areas of a site that construction activities will immediately take place on or sequence grading activities to reduce the amount of disturbed or exposed soil areas to only those areas that are currently being worked on.  It is recommended that site perimeter vegetation be preserved throughout the project. Preserving existing vegetation on a site will minimize the exposure of disturbed soil to the elements; such as wind, rain, run-on / run-off and even from vehicle transport.

    §        Riparian Fencing: If the project abuts and/or includes sensitive habitat, then specific fencing material must be installed along that habitat. This fencing material must be inspected, maintained routinely and repaired or replaced as needed throughout the course of the project.

    §        Scheduling: When possible schedule projects during the dry season (i.e. April 16th – October 14th). Proper sequencing of construction activities will reduce the amount and duration of disturbed soils exposed to erosion potential by wind, rain, storm water run-on and storm water run-off and even vehicle tracking.

    §        Seeding and Planting: Seeding of grasses and planting of trees, shrubs, vines and ground covers provides long term stabilization of soil. So engage in seeding and planting activities on your site, as soon as practical and where appropriate.  For specific seed mix / blend requirements please contact Stormwater Management at (805) 781-7530 or the City Biologist at (805) 781-7511.

    §        Stabilized Construction Exits: All exit locations from a construction site must include a stabilized area all year long. Typical stabilized construction exits include a fabric underlain base covered with at a minimum 6” – 12” deep of 3” - 6” rubble, or the use of shaker plates. In either case, the stabilized entrance at a minimum should be the width of the exit and extend at least fifty (50’) feet. Stabilized entrances must be maintained and cleaned weekly in order to maintain maximum effectiveness at all times.

    §        Temporary Curb / Sidewalk Access Locations:  If crews or materials will access the site over an existing sidewalk or curb then a temporary encroachment permit must be secured from the City {Public Works at (805) 781-7200}. In addition, the designed curb flow for water must be maintained by the installation of at a minimum a three (3”) inch pipe the length of the access point to be used. The temporary entrance shall be constructed using asphalt. Please note that the use of dirt or wood is strictly prohibited and may result in the issuance of a citation upon notice.

    §        Waste Management: Solid waste (i.e. recyclables, green waste and trash) generated on a construction site, must be contained and removed weekly. 

Return to top

Secondary Control Measures (SCMs): SCMs are often cost more and are less effective than Primary Control Measures. The main objective of SCMs is to detain and capture dislodged soil particles that are being transported by wind, rain, storm water run-on / storm water run-off, and/or vehicle transport. These measures must be implemented at a minimum from October 15th through April 15th of each year (i.e. during the rainy season).  In addition, if a rain event is predicted in July then the required SCMs must be deployed prior to the rain event. Some of the more typical methods of trapping eroded sediment include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Compost Logs / Coir Logs: Compost and/or coir logs are designed to allow water to seep through the material while preventing the transfer of sediment. Proper installation of compost and/or coir logs requires them to be entrenched into the ground at least 2” – 3” deep and staked roughly every six feet (6”). Minimum staking requirements of compost and/or coir logs increases on a slope to roughly one stake every four feet (4’). These devices must be strategically placed on a site to be effective and must be inspected and maintained weekly during the rainy season and replaced when necessary.
  • Fiber Rolls:  Please refer to straw wattles herein.
  • Gravel bags: By stacking gravel bags along a level contour a barrier will be created that will detain sediment laden water, ponding water upstream of the barrier and promoting sedimentation. Gravel bags may be used to protect storm drains and /or storm drain inlets in conjunction with filter fabric, gutter eels and/or like or similarly designed devices.  When used to protect a curb set storm drain inlet the bags are typically placed just upstream of the storm drain inlet in a “J” like layout, thus allowing water to build up and sediment to settle out. These devices must be maintained, inspected, cleaned weekly and repaired and/or replaced as needed.
  • Sand Bag Barrier: Stacking sand bags along a level contour creates a barrier which detains sediment laden water, ponding water upstream of the barrier and promoting sedimentation. Sand bags may not be used to protect storm drains and /or storm drain inlets.
  • Sediment Trap: A small, excavated or bermed area where runoff from small drainage areas is detained and sediment can settle before the storm water can flow offsite in a controlled manner.
  • Sedimentation Ponds: Sediment ponds are commonly required on large projects and are designed to handle all on-site and often off site storm flow on site. The goal is to direct all storm water flow into the pond to detain it to allow sediment to settle before the storm water flow leaves the site in a controlled manner.
  • Silt Fence: Silt fence is made of a filter fabric which has been entrenched at least 6” - 12” deep, attached to supporting poles, and sometimes backed by a wire fence for support. The silt fence detains sediment laden water, promoting sedimentation behind the fence. These devices must be strategically placed on a site to be effective and must be laid out in a “J” like pattern in order to be effective.  In addition, these devices must be inspected and maintained weekly during the rainy season, and repaired and/or replaced when necessary.
  • Spill Kits:  All projects must have a complete spill kit on site at all times.
  • Straw Wattles: Straw wattles or fiber rolls are very similar to straw bales; however, they come in roles and are designed to be placed along the contours of a slope to prevent sediment discharge. Straw wattles allow water to seep through the material while preventing the transfer of sediment. Proper installation of straw wattles requires the wattles to be entrenched into the ground at least 2” – 3” deep and staked roughly every six feet (6’). Minimum staking requirements of straw wattles increases on a slope to roughly one stake every four feet (4’). Additionally, the proper layout of straw wattles requires the ends to be looped up in a “J” fashion at each end to prevent the water plus suspended sediment from just flowing around the ends, thus defeating their intended purpose.
  • Storm Drain Inlet Protection: Devices of various designs which detain sediment and laden runoff which will allow the sediment to settle prior to discharge into a storm drain inlet or catch basin.  These devices include: filter fabric, gator eels, storm drain eels and etcetera. Sand bags may not be used to protect storm drains and /or storm drain inlets.

X     Straw Bale Barrier: Straw bale barriers are no longer allowed.

All SCM’s must be inspected, maintained weekly and repaired or replaced as necessary all year long.

 

 Return to top

Type of Projects Affected: Again, all types of construction projects, whether a permit is required or not requires the implementation of both primary and secondary control measures. Whether or not a project requires a state submitted SWPPP, a locally approved WPCP or neither, all must include appropriate primary and secondary control measures.  The specific PCM and SCM are all site specific.

Caltrans Right of Way Projects: Projects that occur within a Caltrans Right of Way will require the preparation, submittal and approval of a SWPPP or WPCP by a Qualified Professional. A qualified professional currently (2010) includes: a PE, a Geologist and/or a CPESC.

New and Future Requirements for Construction and Development Projects - Click Here!

  • How will the US EPA’s new Effluent Limit Guidelines (ELG) affect construction and development projects?

  • New ELG (2010) require contractors to collect and sample storm water discharges!

    • Storm Water Monitoring

    • Risk Factor and Type Assessments

    • Sampling Procedures / Processes

    • Analyzing in the Field

    • What do you do when your sampling analysis exceeds the 250 NTU?

State of California new standards for qualified practitioners (QSD / QSP) - Click Here!

For additional information concerning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) new effluent limitations guidelines (“ELG” - 2010), the State of California’s new Construction General Permit (“CGP” - 2010) and the State of California new standards for qualified practitioners (QSD / QSP) please refer to the links below under “Resources & Links.”

Return to top

 
RESOURCES & LINKS
  • Additional Resources & Links - Click here for additional resources and links related to Stormwater Management.

  • California State Water Resources Control Board - Click here to review the State of California's new Construction General Permit (2010)!

  • California State Water Resources - Click here to access the State of California's mapping tool for a list of impaired water bodies to determine if your project discharges to a sediment impaired water body.

  • California State Water Resources Control Board - Click here to review the State of California's requirements for Qualified SWPPP Developers (QSD) and Qualified SWPPP Practitioners (QSP)!

  • Concrete Activities - Best Management Practices - Quick link to informational guide on Best Management Practices for Concrete Activities.

  • Low Impact Development Center - Quick link to Low Impact Development Center website - http://www.lowimpactdevelopment.org/ 

  • Minor Public Works Encroachment Projects:  The City in order to assist proponents of minor public works encroachment projects has developed a concise stream lined plan form and informational handout to assist proponents in developing a Water Pollution Control Plan (WPCP) that will meet the intent of both State and Federal stormwater mandates.

    • To access the City of San Luis Obispo's WPCP For Right of Way Encroachment Projects - Click Here.

    • To access the City of San Luis Obispo's informational handout for Minor Public Works Encroachment Projects - Click Here.

    SWPPP Practitioners: Click here to a link of qualified professionals who can assist you in developing a SWPPP.

    .Post Construction- Click here for post construction specific information.

  • State Water Resources Quality Control Board - Quick link to State of California Water Resources Quality Control Board.

  • State Water Resources Quality Control Board (“SWRQCB”) - Quick link to State of California Water Resources Quality Control Board., San Luis Obispo Region.

  • Training Opportunities - If you are looking for storm water construction / development related training opportunities for you or your staff in order to meet the requirements of the new Construction General Permit, then the links listed below may be of use to you.

    • California State Water Resources Control Board - The California State Water Resources Control Board offers a host of on-line and live storm water training opportunities. For more information click here!

    • Caltrans - The California Department of Transportation offers a host of on-line and live storm water training opportunities. For more information click here!

    • Casqa or California Stormwater Quality Association - For a list of opportunities for storm water construction / development training opportunities click here!

    • Envirocert International - offers training for both field inspectors and SWPPP developers.

    • Excal Visual - Is a private company that offers offers a host of on-line and live storm water training opportunities. For more information click here!

    • Stormwater USA - Is a private company that offers offers a host of on-line and live storm water training opportunities. For more information click here!

    • Disclaimer: The City of San Luis Obispo neither endorses, nor promotes any of the organizations listed herein for storm water training opportunities. The list provided is for information purposes only. Furthermore, the City is committed to enhancing the public availability, dissemination and exchange of information. To that end, the City’s websites have been established as entry points to enable you to quickly and easily access information on the Internet in relation to topics of relevance to the City of San Luis Obispo and its residents.  The City does not warrant and does not represent that information contained in this website is complete, current, reliable and/or free from error. The City’s sites are not intended to be, and should not be relied upon as, the ultimate and complete source of information on any particular topic.  Thus, prior to initiating any training be sure to verify that the training sought and offered will meet the obligations of the California State Water Resources Control Board's guidelines.

       

  • United States Environmental Protection Agency - Click here to review the US EPA's Effluent Limitation Guidelines!

Return to top

 

STORMWATER HOMEPAGE - QUICK LINK

 

About the Department | Programs and Services | Advisory Bodies
What’s New | FAQs | Documents Online | Permits | Service Request Form
Street Sweeping
| Surveying | Department Home


About the City | Visiting SLO | City Government | Employment
Bids & Proposals | FAQs | Press Room | How are we doing?

©2014 City of San Luis Obispo