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Stormwater Quality Permit

Stormwater Quality Permit (SWQP)

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
  • Temporary control measures (BMPs) have been removed

If all of the above have been completed, contact the Stormwater Permit Team at

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

Public Works Department (formerly Transportation)

Submit a request


2525 13th Street
Boulder, CO 80304

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Hours: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. M-F

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 471
Boulder, CO 80306