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Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs were answered using information from the MPCA.
Also see the MN Extension Service FAQs.

  1. Do I need a permit?
    • You need an NPDES/SDS permit if you are the owner or operator for any construction activity disturbing:
      • One acre or more of soil.
      • Less than one acre of soil if that activity is part of a "larger common plan of development or sale" that is greater than one acre.
      • Less than one acre of soil, but the MPCA determines that the activity poses a risk to water resources.
      • Click here for more.

  2. How do I close my permit when I finish a project?
    • A Notice of Termination can be applied for in two cases:
      1. Final stabilization has been achieved on all portions of the site for which you are responsible.
      2. For residential construction only -- You have provided temporary erosion control and down gradient perimeter control, transferred ownership, and distributed the MPCA Sediment and Erosion Control for New Homeowners fact sheet.

  3. Where can I get more info?
  4. What are fines/fees like and when are they given out?
    • Its best to avoid fines/fees, not just for sake of saving money, but to save time. A stop work order could cost your project a lot of money, and water and wetland restoration can get very expensive. How to avoid: simply look at this inspectors guide to see what stormwater inspectors look for on sites, and to make sure your site will make the grade. Find out more.
    • Get certified and ask about local training opportunities through your local SWCD office or here.
    • The MPCA levies the fines


  5. What is a subdivision registration?
    • Subdivision Registration is designed to allow a permittee to transfer the responsibilities of the NPDES Stormwater Permit for a portion of a site to another party without reapplying for permit coverage. The new owner completes this form and will be assigned a registration number that is specific to the site identified on this form. There is NO FEE for this form/transfer.
      1. Fact sheet on subdivision registration
      2. Subdivision forms

  6. When can I start working after I apply for my permit?
    • 7 days after your permit application is sent (7 days from the postmark date)

  7. What if I sell a house and the homeowner causes erosion problems because they don't sod their lawn?
    • If you follow the Notice of Termination procedures for residential construction, you need to provide temporary erosion control and down gradient perimeter control. Then transfer ownership and distribute the MPCA Sediment and ErosionControl for New Homeowners fact sheet to the homeowner. Then, it isn't your problem anymore.

  8. What should I expect from a construction site stormwater inspection?
    • Inspectors are looking to make sure you are doing what is needed to protect your site from erosion and prevent impacts to streams, wetlands, lakes, and the local stormwater system. They are not there to “get” anyone, just there to do their job. You can check out the actual guide that inspectors use for training at: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/publications/wq-strm2-11.pdf

  9. How do I know if I am near a "Special Water"?
    • If you're working in Northern Minnesota or Northern Wisconsin, the chances are high that you are near a trout stream or Lake Superior. Make sure that you check the MPCA Special Waters list or Mapping Tool that allows you to draw a site location and shows special waters near it.
    • Find out more

  10. I still would like more information.