Construction Storm Water Permits and Procedures

Cemex ConstructionConstruction Site Runoff Control Program

Stormwater runoff from construction activities can significantly affect surface water quality.  As stormwater flows over a construction site it can pick up pollutants like sediment, debris, and chemicals and transport them to the nearby water bodies.  In order to deal with this issue, the Port manages a Construction Site Runoff Control Program.

Within Port jurisdiction, all construction sites are required to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) to protect stormwater. The Best Management Practices Handbook and the Minimum Control Measures for Small Construction Projects are helpful tools contractors can use to determine the best BMPs for their project.

The Port requires contractors to submit an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan (ESCP) and Permit Application for construction sites that disturb 5,000 square feet or more of uncovered ground surface, or are designated as high risk.  ESCPs must be approved prior to the issuance of certain permits, including all grading permits, most building permits, and other permits at the discretion of the Port. 

ESCP applicant packages can be downloaded here. Submit completed ESCP applicant packages to:

Anna Wallace, Regulatory Specialist

Port of San Francisco, Pier 1, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, California


If a construction project disturbs one acre or more of soil, it is subject to the State’s Construction General Permit (CGP).  In this case, the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) developed pursuant to the CGP may substitute for the ESCP.  More information about the CGP requirements can be found here.  Coverage under the CGP is not required for projects in areas of San Francisco which drain to the combined sewer system.   In order to determine if your project drains to a combined or separate sewer system, please refer to this map.  Port staff will provide final guidance on drainage patterns.

Training Opportunities

There are several organizations that offer stormwater compliance training, below are a few.

Soil Excavation and the Maher Ordinance Maher Map

Certain areas of the San Francisco waterfront were once highly industrialized, occupied by rail yards, fuel terminals, shipyards and tanneries. In addition, much of the San Francisco shoreline is made up of imported fill consisting of soil and debris from the 1906 earthquake, materials which potentially contain lead and other pollutants. Because of potential public and worker health and safety concerns associated with these historic pollutants, projects on Port of San Francisco property that involve disturbance, excavation and/or grading of more than 50 cubic yards of soil require investigation, site management and reporting subject to Article 22A of the San Francisco Health Code ("Maher Ordinance"). For more information about compliance with Maher requirements please refer to the San Francisco Department of Public Health website.

Construction In the Bay

If your project involves construction along the Bay shoreline or in Bay waters, you may be regulated by the Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) through the Rivers and Harbors Act or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Permits issued by the Army Corps of Engineers must be certified for consistency with Section 401 of the Clean Water Act by the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB). These "401 certifications" include requirements similar to those found in the Construction General Permit. Information about Army Corps of Engineers permit requirements can be found at the Army Corps regulatory website. Information about 401 certifications can be found at the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board website.

Port Building Permits

All construction activities taking place on Port of San Francisco property must receive a building permit from the Port Engineering Division prior to commencement. When reviewing building permit applications, Port engineering staff will determine which environmental permits are applicable to the proposed construction activity and condition the permit accordingly. No building permit will be issued until all required environmental permits have been secured by the applicant.