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Storm Water Program

Storm Water Program

About Storm Water

Storm water is defined by US EPA as the runoff generated when precipitation from rain and snowmelt events flows over land or impervious surfaces without percolating into the ground. Storm water is often considered a nuisance because it mobilizes pollutants such as motor oil and trash. In most cases, storm water flows directly to water bodies through sewer systems, contributing a major source of pollution to rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Storm water discharges in California are regulated through National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. However, storm water may also act as a resource and recharge to groundwater when properly managed. The Water Boards are actively involved in initiatives to improve the management of storm water as a resource.


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Storm Water Permitting

The Water Boards draw authority for storm water regulation from the federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act) and from direction within the Clean Water Act which puts the framework for regulating storm water discharges under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit system. Data collected for NPDES storm water permit compliance is available in the Storm Water Multiple Application and Report Tracking System (SMARTS) and the California Integrated Water Quality System (CIWQS). For more information read our Storm Water Management Fact Sheet.

Permitting Program Pages


Program PagesPermit Name Link Effective date
Caltrans Caltrans General Permit Order No. 2012-0011-DWQ July 1, 2013
Construction Construction General Permit Order No. 2009-0009-DWQ July 17, 2012
Industrial Industrial General Permit Order No. 2014-0057-DWQ July 1, 2015
Municipal Phase II Small MS4 General Permit Order No. 2013-0001-DWQ July 1, 2013

Public Databases & Fees

SMARTS Database

Online database containing Phase II Small Municipal, Industrial, and Construction storm water permittee information and data.

CIWQS Database

Online database containing Phase I Municipal storm water permittee information and data.

Storm Water Fees

View List of Outstanding Invoices

Online tool to search for your permit fee invoice status.


Database or Fee Questions and Assistance:

Storm Water Initiatives

rain barrel

The Water Boards are working toward innovative storm water quality solutions including incorporation of low impact development objectives, green chemistry pollutant control, and education outreach through films.

Explore our progress below.

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