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.

Use the SWQP Application Flowchart to help understand the process of obtaining a permit.

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.

Learn more about Stormwater Quality Permit Requirements

Contact Information

For more information, please contact the Public Works Stormwater Permit Team:

For projects disturbing one-acre or more or are part of a larger common plan for development:

  1. Stormwater Quality Permit Application
  2. Stormwater Quality Permit Checklist
  3. Stormwater Management Plan Guidance
  4. Copy of CDPS Certification
  5. Control Measure Design Specification

For projects disturbing less than one-acre within 100-feet of a waterway:

  1. Stormwater Quality Permit Application
  2. SWQP Checklist for Small Projects
  3. Stormwater Management Site Plans
  4. Control Measure Design Specifications

Submit the information 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.

After application acceptation and receipt of fee payment (info below), 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.

The permit 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.

Total Site Disburbances in AcresPermit & Plan Review FeeInitial Inspection FeeRoutine Inspection FeeTotal Fee
1 - 1.5$116$58$580$754
1.51 - 2$135.33$77.33$688.75$901.41
2.01 - 2.5$154.67$96.67$812$1,063.33
2.51 - 3.0$174$116$949.75.$1,239.75
3.01 - 3.50$193.33$135.33$1,102$1,430.66
3.51 - 4$212.67$154.67$1,268.75$1,636.08
4.01 - 4.5$232$174$1,450$1,856
4.51 - 5$251.33$193.33$1,645.75$2,090.41

Post-construction controls (also known as Permanent Stormwater Control Measures or SCM’s) are required for sites within Boulder County’s urbanized area disturbing one-acre or greater or are part of a larger common plan of development disturbing an acre or greater.

View Boulder County’s urbanized area on Boulder County Stormwater Map. Enter the address in the search field and select the “Urban Area” layer. The urban area will be shown in red if it is present on the selected parcel.

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.

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 Public Works Department (info below) if you don’t know who is designated as your MS4 Compliance Inspector.

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

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 (uncured concrete is highly alkaline)
  • 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.

If you need to speak with a Stormwater Quality Permit team member, please contact:

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