Routine Maintenance Exclusion - Construction Activity Permitting

As defined in 40 CFR 122.26(b)(15), a storm water discharge associated with small construction activity means the discharge of storm water from a construction activity, including clearing, grading, and excavating, that will result in land disturbance of equal to or greater than one acre and less than five acres. A small construction activity also includes the disturbance of less than one acre of total land area that is part of a larger common plan of development or sale if the larger common plan will ultimately disturb equal to or greater than one and less than five acres. A small construction activity does not include routine maintenance that is performed to maintain the original line and grade, hydraulic capacity, or original purpose of the facility.

If a construction activity involves the disturbance of less than five acres of land and is only performed to maintain its original purpose, then a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit is not required to discharge storm water from the construction activity. Such activities include replacing structures that are due for and require maintenance (e.g., replacing a road without adding any lanes, replacing a bridge without widening it, or replacing a culvert with the same size and composition). In order to qualify as a routine maintenance activity, the land disturbance should not go beyond the footprint of the previous structure. Re-paving a road surface with new asphalt is not considered a construction activity unless the activity exposes soil to storm water.

The following road maintenance activities, which disturb less than five acres of land, may be considered routine road maintenance activities:

  • Berm Repair or Topsoil Placement Along Shoulders - placing berm material or topsoil on shoulders adjacent to pavement to eliminate drop-offs;
  • Bridge Abutment Repairs;
  • Bridge Deck Overlays;
  • Bridge Deck Replacement;
  • Chip Sealing - placing asphalt or polymer binder and stone on existing roads;
  • Culvert Repair/Lining - repairing or lining existing culvert maintaining same line, grade, and hydraulic capacity and within USAC Nationwide Permit (NWP) #3 parameters;
  • Culvert Replacement - replacing a culvert with the same line, grade, and hydraulic capacity and within USAC NWP #3 parameters;
  • Curb Repairs - repairing existing curbing along a roadway;
  • Ditch Cleanout - maintaining or restoring original flow line and cross-section only;
  • Fence Repair/Replacement;
  • Full Depth Pavement Repairs - isolated repairs of pavement build-up down to sub-grade;
  • Guardrail Installation/Replacement - installing or repairing with minor grading work to create proper grade for end assemblies;
  • Lighting Maintenance;
  • Linear Grading - reshaping of graded shoulders to establish proper drainage away from pavement;
  • Loop Detector Repairs - repairing loop detectors in existing pavement;
  • Noise Wall Repair;
  • Partial Depth Pavement Repairs - isolated repairs of surface courses of pavement;
  • Pothole Filling;
  • Resurfacing - replacing several inches of asphalt wearing course by milling existing asphalt and replacing with new;
  • Sign Repair/Maintenance - installing or repairing traffic signs and poles/posts;
  • Signal Installation/Maintenance - installing or repairing traffic signals and poles/posts; and
  • Tree/Brush Removal.

If you are uncertain whether a small construction activity may qualify as a routine maintenance activity, contact Mike Joseph by phone at (614) 752-0782 or by email at michael.joseph@epa.ohio.gov.