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Stormwater Quality Permit

Stormwater Quality Permit (SWQP)


Due to concerns surrounding COVID-19 spread, we will not be meeting in-person for Boulder County Stormwater Quality Permit (SWQP) Inspections. Please practice strict social distancing and do not meet with us while onsite. Boulder County SWQP inspectors will be conducting the inspections independently and sending reports via email. We would be happy to go over the results of the inspections or any questions you have by phone or email.

As part of Boulder County’s water quality protection and municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) construction program, a stormwater quality permit (SWQP) is required for construction projects that:

  • Disturb one acre or more in size;
  • Are less than one acre and construction activity is part of a larger common plan of development that will ultimately disturb one acre or more, even if multiple, separate, and distinct land development activities may take place at different times; or,
  • Are within 100 horizontal feet of a watercourse.

To apply for a Boulder County Stormwater Quality Permit:

  1. Complete the:
    1. Application
    2. SWQP Project Checklist (for projects larger than one-acre), OR the SWQP Small Project Checklist (for projects disturbing less than one-acre)
    3. Additional required documents as listed in the Stormwater Quality Permit Requirements
  2. Submit them one of three ways:
    1. Email (preferred method) –
    2. Deliver to – Community Planning & Permitting – Building Safety, 2045 13th St., Boulder, CO 80302
    3. Mail – Community Planning & Permitting – Building Safety, P.O. Box 471, Boulder, CO 80306

If you are also applying for a Building Permit, you can submit both applications at the same time.
If you choose to mail or deliver your application, the submittal must include an electronic version.

County staff will review your application and provide comments, if necessary. |

The fee is paid to the Community Planning & Permitting Department Department after the application and submittal are accepted. If you applied for a Building Permit too, you can pay both fees at the same time. The SWQP fee is calculated based on the area of disturbance (see table below). The fee is waived for County Capital Improvement Program projects.

After acceptation and receipt of fee payment, the applicant will receive an email to schedule the initial inspection of control measures.
NOTE – No clearing, grubbing, earthwork, or construction may occur prior to the initial inspection.

After initial inspection approval, the permit will be issued and emailed to the applicant.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact the Engineering Development Review Team:

Application/Permit Fees

Payment of a permit will be an amount determined by the County Engineer as what is reasonably necessary to defray the costs of administering the county’s stormwater quality program. The current fee schedule is the following:

Total Site Disturbance in AcresPermit & Plan Review FeeInitial Inspection FeeRoutine Inspection FeeTotal Fee
1.00 - 1.50$116.00$58.00$580.00$754.00
1.51 - 2.00$135.33$77.33$688.75$901.41
2.01 - 2.50$154.67$96.67$812.00$1,063.33
2.51 - 3.00$174.00$116.00$949.75$1,239.75
3.01 - 3.50$193.33$135.33$1,102.00$1,430.66
3.51 - 4.00$212.67$154.67$1,268.75$1,636.08
4.01 - 4.50$232.00$174.00$1,450.00$1,856.00
4.51 - 5.00$251.33$193.33$1,645.75$2,090.41

When are Post-Construction Controls Required?

Post-construction controls are required for sites disturbing one-acre or greater or are part of a larger common plan of development disturbing an acre or greater located within Boulder County’s urbanized area. To view Boulder County’s urbanized area, visit the Property Search website, enter the address, and look under the “Zoning” tab. The “stormwater permit area” is shown as a blue cross-hatched area if it is present on the subject parcel. NOTE – You must zoom in significantly to see the layer and the label.

There are some types of development and redevelopment sites that may qualify for an exclusion from post-construction controls. For more information, view the Guidance for Post-Construction Stormwater Management and the Post-Construction Checklist for submittal requirements.

Requesting Reduced Inspection Frequencies

If construction is completed and seeding and final stabilization practices have been implemented, a reduced inspection frequency may be requested by scheduling a site meeting with the designated MS4 Compliance Inspector. Contact the Transportation Department (info below) if you don’t know who is designated as your MS4 Compliance Inspector.

Requesting Close Out

If construction is completed and the site meets the items listed below, a close out inspection may be scheduled with the designated MS4 Compliance Inspector:

  • All areas have achieved final stabilization (70% of pre-disturbance vegetation with uniform density on areas not stabilized with other non-erosive surfaces)
  • All work areas have been left free of sediment and construction debris/waste
  • No evidence of damage from the contractor to public infrastructure

After the MS4 Compliance Inspector determines the above conditions have been met, any temporary erosion and sediment control measures must be removed in order to have the permit closed.

Stormwater Management is Important

Polluted stormwater runoff from construction sites often flows to storm drain systems and is ultimately discharged into local streams and rivers, destroying aquatic habitat. Sediment is usually the main pollutant of concern, but there are others:

  • Solid and sanitary wastes
  • Phosphorus and nitrogen from fertilizers
  • Concrete from washouts
  • Construction chemicals, debris, and trash
  • Oil and grease
  • Pesticides

Sedimentation runoff from construction sites is typically 10 to 20 times greater than those from agricultural lands, and 1,000 to 2,000 times greater than those from forested lands.

While a SWQP may not be required, contractors must use appropriate control measures to contain pollutants at all times.

The County Engineer may require a SWQP regardless of the size of the total disturbed area, in conjunction with approval of a final subdivision plat, special use permit, or other site specific development plan under the Land Use Code, or if construction is adjacent to a watercourse or wetlands. Boulder County is required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to maintain a Stormwater Management Program.

Contact Us

Community Planning & Permitting (formerly the Land Use Dept.)

Email: Ask a Planner Form
Main: 303-441-3930

Courthouse Annex Building

2045 13th Street
Boulder, CO 80302
Map & Directions

Mailing Address

Community Planning & Permitting
PO Box 471
Boulder, CO 80306