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Who Must Apply for a NPDES Storm Water Permit

- ATTENTION -
All storm water general permit applications must be accompanied by the following fees:
1 year - $175.00     3 years - $350.00     4 years - $525.00     5 years - $700.00

Storm water general permit applications may be submitted online at:
Online Storm Water General Permit Application


Who Must Apply for a Storm Water Discharge Permit?

There are three general classes of activities that must be covered by storm water permits. These are:

  1. Construction activity that disturbs one or more acres or which is part of a larger project that disturbs one or more acres in total.
  2. Certain types of industrial or commercial activities.
  3. Many city storm sewer systems in larger communities or those near larger communities. 

Please note, any discharge from a facility or construction site that may temporarily degrade an Outstanding National Resource Water or Outstanding State Resource Water is required to be permitted by an individual NPDES permit, as stipulated in paragraph 567-61.2(2)"e" of the Iowa Administrative Code and in the Iowa Antidegradation Implementation Procedure.  General permit coverage is not available for these discharges.  The list of these waters is located in Appendix B of the Antidegradation Implementation Procedure. For more information about obtaining an individual storm water permit for these facilities and construction sites, please contact the Storm Water Program Coordinator at 515-281-7017.


Construction activity that disturbs one or more acres:

Construction activity that disturbs one or more acres must be covered by a storm water permit before any soil is disturbed at the site.  Construction activities are covered under General Permit No. 2.  The following guidelines apply to permit coverage under General Permit No. 2:

  • Permit coverage must be continued until all building is completed and the ground is completely stabilized with a permanent, perennial, vegetative cover.
  • Building is not complete until all houses and buildings are constructed and the ground has been stabilized.  Before this is achieved, permit coverage must be maintained.
  • If only one year of permit coverage was initially purchased and, after one year, the ground is not completely stabilized, permit coverage must be renewed.
  • For residential and commercial developments, permit coverage must be maintained after initial grading and street construction.

Paper application forms and information may be found here.  To apply for coverage under General Permit No. 2 online, please use the Online Storm Water General Permit Application.


Industrial and commercial activities (Storm Water Discharge Associated with Industrial Activity):

Industrial and commercial activities that are classified as having "storm water discharge associated with industrial activity" are required to obtain permit coverage.  Most industrial activities are covered under General Permit No. 1 or by individual permits.  Facilities such as asphalt plants, concrete batch plants, quarries, sand and gravel pits, and rock crushers are covered under General Permit No. 3.

EPA's definition of "storm water discharge associated with industrial activity" from 40 CFR 122.26 can be found in Appendix A.  A summary of the types of industrial facilities and activities subject to the regulations are provided in Table 1, "Facilities or Activities Defined as Industrial Activities Subject to Storm Water Discharge Application Requirements".

Paper application forms and information may be found here.  To apply for coverage under General Permit No. 1 or No. 3 online, please use the Online Storm Water General Permit Application.


No-exposure Exemption:

If all industrial materials and activities are protected by a storm resistant shelter that prevents exposure to rain, snow, snowmelt, and/or runoff, you may not need a storm water permit.  Industrial materials or activities include, but are not limited to,

  • material handling equipment or activities (including storage, loading and unloading, transportation, or conveyance of raw material, intermediate product, final product, or waste product);
  • industrial machinery;
  • raw materials;
  • intermediate products;
  • by-products;
  • final products; or
  • waste products.  

To qualify for a no-exposure exemption, complete and submit the No-Exposure Certification Form.  A No-Exposure Certification must be provided for each qualifying facility.  In addition, the exclusion is available on a facility-wide basis only, not for individual outfalls.  If any industrial activities or materials at a facility are exposed to precipitation, the facility is not eligible for the exemption.


Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System NPDES Permits:

Many cities and universities in Iowa are required to have permits for their Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s).  The determination of which cities and universities are required to obtain MS4 permits involves a combination of population, proximity to large, urbanized areas, and the water quality of receiving streams.  MS4 permits require permittees to implement measures to:

  • reduce pollutants in storm water from illicit discharges and construction sites,
  • provide public education,
  • allow for public participation,
  • minimize pollutants from municipal operations, and
  • address post-construction runoff. 

Please refer to the MS4 Permittees webpage (linked above) for a list of MS4 permit holders in Iowa.


Application Deadlines for New Storm Water Discharges:

For coverage under a general storm water discharge permit, a properly completed Notice of Intent must be submitted to DNR and an authorization approved and issued by the Department prior to the start of operations or soil disturbing activities as specified in 567-64.3(4)"b" of the Iowa Administrative Code. 

For an individual NPDES permit, and application must be submitted 180 days prior to the start of operation.

Please see the Application Options & Fees page for more information.


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