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Understanding When a SWPPP is Required for Construction Sites in Utah

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

In the construction industry, safeguarding the environment and complying with federal and state regulations are critical components in the successful management and completion of any project. One such regulation is the preparation and implementation of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). This plan is essential in managing the runoffs that occur in construction sites and potentially affect the quality of water in the surroundings. In Utah, like in other states, the requirement for a SWPPP is unequivocal. Let's delve into the details of which construction sites require a SWPPP in Utah.

Engineers and architects looking over blueprint to discuss Stormwater Management in Utah

What is SWPPP?

Before identifying the requirements, it is important to understand what a SWPPP is. A Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan is a document that outlines how a construction project will minimize stormwater pollution through the implementation of control measures, best management practices (BMPs), and inspection procedures.

Federal and State Regulatory Background

The necessity for SWPPP comes from the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program, which was established by the Clean Water Act. This federal regulation is further enforced at the state level through the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Division of Water Quality.

Criteria for SWPPP Requirement in Utah

In Utah, construction sites that meet the following criteria are generally required to prepare a SWPPP:

Equipment Land Disturbance Requiring a SWPPP in Utah

1. Land Disturbance Area

  • One Acre or More: Construction activities including clearing, grading, excavating, and other similar activities that disturb one acre or more are typically required to have a SWPPP.

  • Less than One Acre: Sites that disturb less than one acre but are part of a more extensive common plan of development or sale that will disturb one acre or more also need a SWPPP.

2. Proximity to Sensitive Areas

  • Proximity to Water Bodies: Construction activities taking place near sensitive water bodies, including TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) water bodies, and 303(d) listed water bodies, might be required to adhere to stricter SWPPP requirements to prevent pollution.

3. Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s)

  • Connection to MS4: Any construction activity that discharges stormwater directly into a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) should have a SWPPP to regulate the discharge and ensure it doesn’t adversely affect the quality of the receiving waters.

Preparing a SWPPP in Utah

To prepare a SWPPP in Utah, project owners or operators should:

  • Identify Potential Sources of Pollution: Identify all the potential sources of pollution that may reasonably be expected to affect the quality of stormwater discharges from the construction site.

  • Best Management Practices (BMPs): Describe and implement BMPs that will be used to reduce pollutants in stormwater discharges from the construction site.

  • Inspections and Recordkeeping: Maintain a log of regular inspections and keep records of implemented BMPs, incidents of non-compliance, and other relevant reports.

Important Tools and Resources

Utilize resources provided by the Utah DEQ to navigate SWPPP requirements effectively, including consulting:

  • UPDES Construction General Permit: Understanding the Utah Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (UPDES) Construction General Permit is crucial in preparing a compliant SWPPP.

  • BMP Manual: Refer to the BMP manual provided by the Utah DEQ for information on the selection, design, and implementation of BMPs.

BMP use in SWPPP Requirements in Utah


Comprehending when a SWPPP is necessary for a construction site in Utah is essential to maintain compliance with state and federal regulations and to protect water quality. Remember that this outline provides a general guide and that it is always necessary to consult with a professional and refer to current state and federal regulations to ensure full compliance. Stay updated with the latest requirements and maintain a sustainable and environmentally friendly construction practice in Utah.

Need help developing a SWPPP? Call Accena SWPPP Services today at 801-701-6188.

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