The Resource rss

Helping communities and businesses access compliance, technical and financial assistance for their environmental needs.

What is storm water and why is it a concern?

Storm water runoff is rain and snow melt that runs off the land and hard surfaces, paved streets and parking lots, directly entering streams, rivers and lakes. It picks up pollutants like chemicals, oils, trash and dirt from surface areas and from outdoor business activities, including outside material storage handling and production. Pollutants then enter water bodies and can degrade the quality of the waters and pose threats to human health and wildlife.

How can I ensure my business helps protect Ohio’s waters?

You can do your part to protect Ohio’s waters by obtaining a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) storm water permit and developing Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWP3). These permits and plans will help you and your business prevent storm water pollution.


What is an NPDES permit and do I need one?

NPDES permits help protect water resources by preventing and limiting various pollutants from entering Ohio’s waters. Most NPDES permits last five years and set limits on what and how much of various substances can be discharged to lakes, rivers and streams.

Certain types of businesses are required to obtain storm water permits based on their Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code. For a list of SIC codes subject to the storm water program, go to U.S. EPA’s website for Industrial Activities that Require Permit Coverage.

Some types of businesses that are regulated include:

  • fabricated metal operations (except producers of machinery and transportation equipment),
  • mineral industries,
  • material recyclers such as junkyards and metal recyclers,
  • scrap yards, and
  • transportation facilities that have vehicle maintenance shops and equipment cleaning.

What if I have a regulated SIC code but don’t store materials or perform operations outside?

If you manage your raw materials and conduct your operations in ways that prevent exposure to storm water (for example, all outside storage is covered), then you may qualify for a no exposure certification and would not be required to obtain an NPDES permit. For more information and/or to apply for a no exposure certificate, visit Ohio EPA’s no exposure certification webpage.

How do I get an NPDES permit?

If you have a regulated SIC code and you do not qualify for no exposure certification, then you must apply for NPDES permit coverage. To obtain this permit, you will need to submit a one-page Industrial Notice of Intent (NOI) form to Ohio EPA’s Division of Surface Water along with a $350 application fee.

Do I need to do anything prior to applying for my permit?

Before you submit your NOI form, you must first develop a SWP3. Your plan should contain four major parts: planning and organization; source assessment; best management practices for your type of business and SWP3 implementation evaluation.

Are there other requirements?

You must conduct an annual comprehensive site inspection and submit your findings in an annual report. In addition, some companies with certain SIC codes must collect storm water samples, have them analyzed and submit the data to Ohio EPA.

What about construction activities?

If construction activities at your business disturb more than one acre of land you may need to obtain a construction storm water permit. In many cases, simple construction activities can be addressed by obtaining a Construction Storm Water General Permit.

Where do I go for more information?

The NOI form, instructions and more information can be found at Ohio EPA’s Storm Water Program website or by calling (614) 644-2001. Businesses can contact the Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention at 1-800-329-7518 for free, confidential assistance.


SWP3s identify potential sources of storm water pollution. This plan outlines and ensures implementation of best management practices to reduce storm water pollution at your business.