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Storm Water

Ocean waveStorm Water Pollution Prevention Plans are required to ensure protection against the discharge of pollutants into city receiving waters (streams, lakes, lagoons or ocean). Each Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan identifies best management practices to be employed during development or use of a property to reduce or eliminate pollutants from entering the receiving waters. 

    There are three basic types of Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP) as follows: 

    Construction SWPPP: defines temporary best management practices for the elimination and control of pollutants during construction activities.

    Storm Water Management Plan (SWMP): used to define permanent best management practices for the elimination and control of pollutants resulting from the development of a property

    Business Activity SWPPP: used to define best management practices for the elimination and control of pollutants resulting from certain specified commercial and industrial activities occurring at a particular property.

Every construction permit issued by the city that has the potential to contribute pollutants to a receiving water is required to have a city approved Construction SWPPP. The level of complexity and detail required for each Construction SWPPP is dependent on the potential threat posed by the proposed project.  The city has a three tiered Construction SWPPP review process corresponding to projects with a high, medium or low construction threat to water quality. Prospective applicants must complete a Construction Threat Assessment Worksheet to determine what tier level of Construction SWPPP will be required. The standards, processing and inspection requirements for a Construction SWPPP can be found in the city's Engineering Design Standards, Volume 4, Chapter 3 (Construction SWPPP requirements).

The Construction SWPPP for small projects with a low threat to water quality (Tier1) can usually be issued across the counter. Tier 2 and 3 Construction SWPPPs require detailed documentation prepared by qualified professionals and will undergo a lengthier plan review process.

Storm Water Management Plan required

Projects that pose a long term threat to water quality are designated as “priority projects” and require approval of a Storm Water Management Plan. The Storm Water Management Plan identifies permanent treatment control best management practices, Low Impact Development design features and other pollutant control best management practices that must be incorporated into the project design. The Storm Water Management Plan also specifies maintenance requirements for any installed permanent best management practice facility and identifies the party responsible for long term maintenance.

Priority project determination

To determine if a project qualifies as a priority project, prospective applicants must fill out a Storm Water Standards Questionnaire.

Storm Water Management Plan standards and processing requirements

The standards and processing requirements for Storm Water Management Plans are found in the city’s Engineering Design Standards, Volume 4, Chapter 2 (Standard Urban Storm Water Mitigation Plan). Owners and developers of priority projects are strongly encouraged to review the Standard Urban Stormwater Mitigation Plan document and to incorporate Low Impact Development and other permanent treatment control best management practices into their site planning process as early as feasible to avoid future delays in project processing.

Storm water treatment control facility maintenance requirements

Priority projects that require preparation and approval of a Storm Water Management Plan also require that the owner enter into a city standard Permanent Storm Water Quality Best Management Practice Maintenance Agreement. Priority projects are subject to annual review by city inspection staff to ensure that all permanent treatment control facilities are in proper working order. Owners of priority projects are required to submit annual verification forms certifying that each and every permanent treatment control facility has been properly maintained and is effectively operating.

Certain commercial and industrial business activities require the preparation of a Business Activity Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). The Business Activity SWPPP identifies best management practices to be employed to eliminate or reduce to the maximum extent practicable potential storm water pollutants resulting from the conduct of the particular business activity. The need for a Business Activity SWPPP is determined by the city during the city business license review. Projects requiring a Business Activity SWPPP are subject to annual inspection requirements pursuant to the city’s Jurisdictional Urban Runoff Management Plan (JURMP).

For more information, please contact the storm water management hotline at 760- 602-2799.

Contact Information

Development services office
1635 Faraday Ave
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Get directions

760-602-2750 Engineering

General Information

Business hours
Monday - Thursday:
7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.