Erosion control policies & procedures

Proper planning can reduce stormwater-related erosion risks on construction sites. Use the Temporary Erosion and Sediment Control (TESC) manual, templates, checklists, and policy guidance on this page to get and transfer permit coverage, develop contracts, write erosion control plans, and submit discharge monitoring reports for your project.

Find information by topic below:

When to apply for a Construction Stormwater General Permit (CSWGP)

Apply for a CSWGP if your construction project has the potential to discharge stormwater to surface waters and will either disturb one or more acres of soil, or is part of a larger plan that will end up disturbing one or more acres of soil. Apply for the CSWGP by submitting a Notice of Intent (NOI) to the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology).

For work in Indian Country, as defined in the CSWGP, use the Environmental Protection Agency’s NOI system to apply for the federal Construction General Permit.

For emergencies, you do not need to fill out an NOI before starting work. Submit a complete and accurate NOI to Ecology within 30 calendar days after earth-disturbing activities start. Contact Ecology’s Regional Permit Administrator for your area as soon as possible to meet project-specific expectations.

Before preparing a Notice of Intent (NOI)

During project scoping and design, find out if the work site has contamination and if impaired water bodies will likely be affected by the work.

Site contamination

If there is contaminated soil or groundwater within your project boundaries, follow the steps for getting a CSWGP on contaminated sites (pdf 438 kb) during design and when filling out the NOI.

Impaired water body

Use Ecology’s Water Quality Atlas to find out if your project will have an outfall to an impaired water body. Impaired water bodies include those on the 303(d) list or covered by a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).

If your project will have an outfall to an impaired water body, fill out Ecology’s Proposed New Discharge to an Impaired Water Body form. Submit the completed form to Ecology with a cover letter when submitting the NOI. Use the guidance and template below to help fill out the form and write a cover letter.

Prepare and submit the NOI

Use Ecology’s Water Quality Permitting Portal (WQWebPortal) to fill out the NOI. Find help for filling out the NOI in Ecology’s WQWebPortal below:

Transfer of Coverage (TOC)

When a project transfers the CSWGP to the contractor, the contractor becomes responsible for implementing all permit requirements. Except for special cases, WSDOT’s role shifts to inspecting projects for compliance with the CSWGP and contract enforcement. Find out when and how to transfer coverage of the CSWGP below:

Design-build projects

Contractors obtain the CSWGP. Transfer of coverage is not necessary, but contract enforcement remains critical.

Special cases

You may request approval from your region’s Assistant State Construction Engineer (ASCE) to retain CSWGP coverage through construction (non-transfer). Examples of when an ASCE might authorize retaining CSWGP coverage include projects with a long winter shutdown, multiple overlapping phases and contracts, or short duration projects.

All other work

Transfer coverage of the CSWGP from WSDOT to the contractor before construction begins. Use the instructions, form, and checklist below to transfer CSWGP coverage:

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)

Prepare a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) for all work, even when you are not applying for coverage under the CSWGP. The SWPPP is made up of two plans, the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan and Temporary Erosion and Sediment Control (TESC) plan.

SPCC plan requirements

Contractors must prepare a project specific SPCC plan prior to any construction activity. SPCC plans must be kept up-to-date and be immediately available on every Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) project. If you have questions about SPCC plans, contact the Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Program Manager, Ben Wilkinson,

For contractors

Use the following tools to prepare an SPCC plan:

  • SPCC Plan Template (docx 126 kb) – Use this template to create an SPCC Plan. 
  • Example Site Map (pdf 71 kb) – SPCC Plans require a project site map that indicates the location of certain features, including drainage pathways, waterways, hazardous materials, and spill prevention and response equipment. 
  • Secondary Containment guidance (pdf 474 kb) – Learn if your project requires secondary containment and how to maintain it.
  • WSDOT Construction web page – Visit this webpage to find more information about WSDOT specifications, amendments, and general special provisions.
  • Standard Specifications – Reference specification 1-07.15(1) to ensure your plan includes all the necessary requirements for spill prevention, control, and countermeasures.
  • Section 3406 of the International Fire Code – Find temporary fuel storage requirements in this publication, available through the WSDOT library. 
For WSDOT reviewers

WSDOT reviews SPCC plans to ensure compliance.

To review SPCC plans, first complete the online SPCC reviewer training and read the Spill Plan Reviewers Guidance (pdf 1.11 mb) to understand the requirements of a spill prevention plan. 

Use the SPCC Plan Checklist (docx 36 kb) review the contractor’s prepared plan  for compliance with WSDOT Standard Specification 1‑07.15 (1) for Road, Bridge, and Municipal Construction.

TESC plan requirements

TESC plans identify stormwater-related erosion risks at construction sites and document your plan for minimizing those risks. Develop a preliminary TESC plan during project design. The preliminary TESC plan will be included in the project contract as an appendix. The contractor may accept and modify the preliminary TESC plan or develop their own.

If the project is design-build, the contractor must develop a TESC plan for WSDOT review and comment.

Use tools below to make sure TESC plans are complete and have the necessary information:

  • Temporary Erosion and Sediment Control Manual (TESCM) – Review this manual to learn WSDOT’s policies for preventing stormwater-related erosion during construction and how to meet the requirements of the CSWGP.
  • TESC Plan template (docx 52 kb) – Use this template to develop the narrative section of the TESC plan.
  • Abbreviated TESC Plan template (docx 39 kb) – Use this template for work not covered by the CSWGP that disturbs soil and might discharge stormwater to surface waters.
  • TESC Plan Review Checklist (pdf 340 kb) – Use this checklist to make sure the TESC plan you prepared or are reviewing is complete and meets CSWGP requirements.

Monthly Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs)

As soon as Ecology issues you coverage under the CSWGP, begin submitting monthly DMRs to Ecology’s WQWebPortal, even if construction has not started or there have been no discharges. DMRs must be submitted by the 15th of each month. Continue monthly reporting until the CSWGP coverage terminates or permit coverage is transferred to the contractor.

Use the following tools to prepare your DMR:

Training and Certification for Erosion and Sediment Control Lead (CESCL)

All WSDOT and contractor staff performing CSWGP-related site inspections must be current Certification for Erosion and Sediment Control Leads (CESCL). To get your CESCL certification, you may take the training from an Ecology approved training provider.

WSDOT also offers a Construction Site Erosion and Sediment Control training once a year. While anyone may attend this class for informational purposes, only WSDOT staff and consultants may take it to recertify an expiring CESCL, or take it in conjunction with an approved 8-hour Field BMP training course for the full CESCL certification. To take the class, WSDOT staff can sign up for "WSDOT ENV: Construction Site Erosion and Sediment Control" in the Learning Management System.