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CA Construction General Permit & Stormwater Plan Essentials | ComplianceGO

CA Construction General Permit & Stormwater Plan Essentials

Navigating the California Construction General Permit and SWPPP Compliance With ComplianceGo

The California Construction General Permit, also known as the California CGP, is a key regulatory requirement for construction sites that displace soil or involve land clearing. Understanding the intricacies of the permit, its compliance requirements, and the vital role that the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) plays, can make a huge difference in your project’s success. In this blog post, we delve into everything you need to know about the California CGP and the SWPPP, and how ComplianceGo can simplify your compliance journey.

Detailed Examination of the California CGP

The California Construction General Permit (CGP), issued by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), is a requirement for construction projects that disturb one or more acres of soil or that disturb less than one acre but are part of a larger common plan of development. It serves a crucial purpose – to protect the state’s water bodies from pollutants that could arise from construction activities.

Understanding the CGP involves comprehending its broad objectives and the specifics it entails. Its purpose is to prevent pollutants from construction sites from entering the state’s water bodies. This includes sediments, solid and liquid waste, and construction debris. These pollutants, when swept into nearby water bodies due to stormwater runoff, can harm aquatic habitats, affect water quality, and even cause flooding by blocking water channels.

The CGP applies to a wide range of entities, such as construction companies, developers, contractors, and public agencies, all of whom are deemed as ‘dischargers’. Even projects that may seem small, if part of a larger common plan of development, fall under its purview.


To comply with the CGP, permittees must develop and implement an effective Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), conduct regular inspections, and adopt appropriate Best Management Practices (BMPs) designed to prevent the discharge of pollutants in stormwater runoff. BMPs could include practices like silt fencing, storm drain inlet protection, regular sweeping and debris cleanup, among others.

The permit also mandates the compilation and maintenance of accurate self monitoring records, regular training for all personnel about stormwater discharge management, and immediate reporting of non-compliance incidents. Besides, permittees are also obligated to obtain coverage under the CGP before construction activities commence and must submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to the SWRCB.


Non-compliance with the CGP requirements can have serious consequences. Violators may face both administrative and civil penalties. Administrative fines can go up to $10,000 per violation per day, while civil liabilities can be as high as $25,000 per violation per day. Additionally, failure to comply can also lead to a project shut down or delays, causing significant financial losses.

In essence, the CGP is a critical regulation that calls for strict compliance from anyone involved in significant construction activities in California. Its stringent rules and the rigorous enforcement are a testament to California’s commitment to preserving its water quality and protecting its aquatic ecosystems from the potential adverse impacts of construction activities.

Understanding the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)

Integral to the California CGP is the SWPPP, a comprehensive plan to prevent stormwater pollution. The SWPPP must outline all the construction site’s activities that could affect the quality of stormwater and the mitigation measures put in place to minimize these impacts.

An effective SWPPP is multi-faceted, encompassing erosion and sediment control, management of non-stormwater discharges, and effective waste management among other elements. Developing and implementing a robust SWPPP not only helps with regulatory compliance but also promotes sustainable construction practices.

Navigating Compliance: Step-by-Step

Understanding the risk levels associated with your construction project is paramount in ensuring compliance with the California CGP. Depending on the site location and project type, there might be varying risk levels, and understanding these can help you tailor your compliance efforts accordingly.

Documentation is a cornerstone of compliance. Maintaining records of all construction activities, including site inspections and incidents of non-compliance, is mandatory. Routine maintenance and monitoring of the construction site is also a critical aspect of compliance. Regular inspections must be performed, and any noted incidents of non-compliance must be promptly rectified.

Finally, a strict recordkeeping regime is vital for successful compliance. The CGP requires you to keep all records pertaining to the permit, including the SWPPP, inspection reports, and any incidents of non-compliance for a period of three years following the NOT (Notice of Termination) of the Permit.

How ComplianceGo Can Help

Here’s where ComplianceGo steps in. We understand the complexities of managing the California CGP and the required SWPPPs and offer a comprehensive software tracking and management solution to ensure that your construction project remains stormwater compliant.  Our platform simplifies the compliance process by offering tools for easy document management, routine inspections, corrective action items, map updating, forecast and precipitation tracking,  scheduling, and more. By leveraging ComplianceGo, you can focus on what matters most – your construction project, while our software delivers the compliance.