Storm Water Management in Texas

There are two elements of wastewater management:

  • SWPPP (SWP3) – temporary, during construction (State/TCEQ)
  • SWQMP – permanent, after construction is complete (City)

Silt FenceSWPPP (SWP3) – Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan:  The SWPPP is a document that outlines how a construction project will minimize storm water pollution. Construction sites are a well-known source of sediment and other pollutants which can cause significant harm to rivers, lakes, coastal waters, and flood control facilities. The SWPPP describes the contractor’s activity to prevent pollution for a specific project. The SWPPP should be kept on the construction site and updated frequently to reflect changes at the site. This permit is closed upon completion of the construction project.

In a construction site, when storm water runoff flows over land and other impervious surfaces, it accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment, etc. that could adversely affect water quality. If the storm water is contaminated, it must be treated or filtered before being discharged into the storm drain. If untreated, the water could lead to unsafe water for drinking, fishing, swimming, and other activities.

A well prepared SWPPP will help a construction operator as follows:

  • Identifies all potential sources of pollution which may reasonably be expected to affect the quality of storm water discharges from the construction site.
  • Describes practices to be used to reduce pollutants in storm water discharges from the construction site. (We want to divert the clean water, and trap the dirty water)
  • Helps assure compliance with the terms and conditions of the permit (when the plan is designed for the individual site, and is fully implemented)
  • Provides inspection and reporting procedures.

Nearly all construction site operators engaged in clearing, grading, excavation activities that disturb one acre or more, including smaller sites in a larger common plan of development or sale, are required to prepare a SWPPP and obtain coverage under National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). Visit the TCEQ website for information on Storm Water Permitting requirements.

ERC can assist with developing a SWPPP for any construction/demolition project and offer regular site visits to update the plan as needed.


Detention PondSWQMP – Storm Water Quality Management Plan:  Larger cities, such as Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin, require permits for wastewater management if developing or redeveloping one acre or more. The SWQMP is created to define and control the handling of storm water runoff from a completed project site permanently. It applies to the property, post-construction and as such is the responsibility of the property owner. Typically, an SWQMP must be filed and recorded as a prerequisite to filing for a building permit.

Construction/installation of the permanent storm water quality features (ponds, oil/water separators, etc.) called for in the SWQMP is typically carried out by the General Contractor (GC) during the construction and as a result, the GC is responsible for their installation according to the SWQMP specification. This means that at completion of construction, regulatory personnel typically inspect the features installed as a final step to issuance of the Owner’s Storm Water Quality Permit. This permit must be maintained after construction and renewed annually. To renew it, monthly inspections and regular maintenance, such as cleaning, are required.

ERC can help manage this permit renewal process, offering a full turnkey solution to include the required monthly inspections and any necessary maintenance and cleaning.


Do you have questions about Storm Water Permitting in Texas? ERC has over 30 years’ environmental business experience. All plans and permits are managed by licensed professionals with more than 20 years’ experience in the field. Our Civil Engineering and Environmental Consulting teams can help. Contact us today if you have any questions about storm water permitting.