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Stormwater Discharges from Small Construction Activities

Requirements for stormwater permits for construction sites that disturb at least 1 acre but less than 5 acres and are not part of a larger common plan of development.

Caution: If your project is part of a larger common plan of development, and the total number of acres disturbed under the plan is 5 acres or more, then your project is not a small construction activity. You must comply with the requirements for Construction Activities Disturbing 5 or More Acres.

Obtaining Authorization

When you disturb less than 5 acres (but at least 1 acre) of land there are several ways to obtain authorization under the general permit depending on the specifics of your construction activity:

  1. For a small construction activity you may follow the steps necessary for coverage under the notice option.

  2. If you disturb less than 1 acre of land, you do not need coverage under this general permit to discharge stormwater.

  3. If construction is to take place in a particular county during a particular time period when erosion is expected to be minimal (see Appendix A of TXR150000 Adobe Acrobat PDF Document), you may be eligible for regulation under the Low Potential for Erosion Requirements. (Help with downloading files.)

  4. If the potential for soil to wash away during your construction activity is low, you may qualify for the Low Rainfall Erosivity Waiver.

  5. Even if you are eligible for coverage under a general permit, you may opt to request coverage under an individual permit.

  6. If your activity is associated with the production or exploration of oil and gas, your project may be under the jurisdiction of the Texas Railroad Commission Exit the TCEQ and you may need authorization under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System program Exit the TCEQ.

New Effluent Limits

On December 1, 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published effluent limitations guidelines Exit the TCEQ (ELGs) and new source performance standards to control the discharge of pollutants from construction sites, 40 CFR Part 450 Exit the TCEQ. The regulation was effective on February 1, 2010. After this date, all permits issued by EPA or states must incorporate the final rule requirements.

The Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Construction General Permit, TXR150000, was issued on February 19, 2013, and became effective on March 5, 2013. The narrative guidelines for effluent limitations in this rule (40 CFR 45 Exit the TCEQ) will be incorporated into the reissued permit.

According to the ELGs, all construction sites that are currently required to obtain permit coverage must implement a range of non-numeric effluent limits in the form of erosion and sediment controls and pollution prevention measures. Small construction projects that are not part of a larger common plan of development don't have numeric effluent limits.

TCEQ is currently adopting 40 CFR Part 450 by reference into state rules at 30 TAC 305.541 Exit the TCEQ, Effluent Guidelines and Standards for TPDES Permits. For additional information, see our rules.

We encourage you to Contact us if you have difficulty determining which method of authorization best meets your particular circumstance.