Stormwater Permitting

MassDEP helps people learn about federal, state, and local stormwater permits. Many of these permits are administered by the federal EPA and MassDEP or by cities and towns. This page offers information about these programs.

Table of Contents

Federal Stormwater Permits

These permits are:

MassDEP has compiled materials to assist affected municipalities in complying with the MS4 permit; see "Stormwater Outreach Materials to Help Towns Comply with the MS4 Permit" and the documents below.

State Authorization for Stormwater Permits

To receive a state authorization of the following NPDES Stormwater General Permits, a WM15 application is required. 

  • Construction General Permit 
  • Multi-Sector General Permit
  • Massachusetts Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) Permit

For Construction and Multi-Sector General Permits, WM15 applications are only required if the site discharges to or is near Outstanding Resource Waters, as defined in in 314 CMR 4.06. 

Instructions on how to submit a WM15 application to MassDEP to obtain authorization to discharge can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/how-to/wm-15-npdes-general-permit-notice-of-intent.  

The MassDEP Wetlands and Waterways program also oversees the stormwater regulations under the Wetlands Protection Act. For guidance on the stormwater regulations, access the Stormwater Handbook at https://www.mass.gov/guides/massachusetts-stormwater-handbook-and-stormwater-standards.

Additional Resources

Local Stormwater Permitting and Management

Local Ordinances and Bylaws

Cities and towns may have local ordinances or bylaws that address stormwater management requirements; contact your city or town for guidance. 

Construction Sites

Is your construction site greater than 1 acre or is it part of a common development plan that is greater than 1 acre? You may need additional permit coverage. Read on to find out more.

If your construction site (this includes site preparation and clearing) is greater than 1 acre or your development is part of a larger common development plan that is greater than 1 acre and there is a pathway for stormwater to flow from your site directly or indirectly to a water of the US, you will need to seek coverage under the EPA Construction General Permit (CGP) – see https://www.epa.gov/npdes/epas-2017-construction-general-permit-cgp-and-related-documents. You will have to develop a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP), that if implemented appropriately, reduces pollution from erosion and sedimentation from construction sites; regularly inspect the site for compliance with the SWPPP; and make sure that appropriate erosion control measures are in place and working properly. You can submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to EPA via the NPDES eReporting Tool (NeT)

For permit-related questions please contact Michelle Vuto at vuto.michelle@epa.gov. For compliance/enforcement-related questions please contact Andrew Spejewski at Spejewski.andrew@epa.gov.

If your >1 acre construction site also lies near or drains into Outstanding Resource Waters, MassDEP requires review of the stormwater pollution prevention plan that was developed for the CGP. To determine whether your project is near an ORW, please go to https://maps.massgis.digital.mass.gov/MassMapper/MassMapper.html, select the Physical Resources data layers, then Outstanding Resource Waters. If your site is near or discharges to an ORW, please follow instructions at https://www.mass.gov/how-to/wm-15-npdes-general-permit-notice-of-intent to submit the required documents to MassDEP for review and submit the $500 application fee (municipal projects are exempt). Should you have questions about this process, please contact MassDEP at stormwater.dep@mass.gov.

Stormwater Utilities

Metropolitan Area Planning Council has prepared a Stormwater Financing Starter Kit

Existing rate structures for municipalities that have established stormwater enterprise funds, refer to the Massachusetts Stormwater Fee Summary sheet. 

Additional Resources

Resources and Tools for MS4 Compliance

Funding for MS4 Permittees

Groups of municipalities are eligible for grant money through the MS4 Municipal Assistance Grants administered by MassDEP. These grants allow permittees to develop tools that satisfy portions of the MS4 permit minimum control measures. More information about the Stormwater MS4 Municipal Assistance Grant Program.

Public Education and Outreach

Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination

Post Construction Stormwater Management

Good Housekeeping

Impaired Waters and Waters with TMDLs

Additional Resources

Stormwater Policies & Guidance

Complete Erosion and Sedimentation Control Guidelines: a Guide for Planners, Designers, and Municipal Officials
Best management practices for controlling erosion and sedimentation.

The Massachusetts Stormwater Handbook
Last revised in February 2008.

Snow Disposal Guidance
MassDEP guidelines for government agencies and private businesses to use in selecting, preparing, and maintaining snow-disposal sites.

Contact for Stormwater Permitting

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