SWPPP or SWQMP

What’s the difference between an SWPPP (Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan) and an SWQMP (Stormwater Quality Management Plan)?


There’s often confusion about these two documents. They both deal with stormwater quality and they both define and control the way stormwater is to be handled on a specific piece of property. They both deal with Best Management Practices (BMPs) put in place to manage stormwater quality and they are both mandated by local, state and federal law. But they are distinctly different documents with different goals and different responsible parties.

An SWPPP (Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan) is temporary. It is created to define and control the handling of stormwater runoff from a construction site. The SWPPP applies only to the time period in which construction activity is taking place, and is no longer operative once the soil on project site has been stabilized. The SWPPP is the responsibility of the a ‘Operator’ of the construction site, which under TPDES (Texas Pollution Discharge Elimination System) definition is typically the General Contractor in charge of the construction activity. Typically the SWPPP site plan drawing, which is one component of the complete SWPPP, must be included in the drawings submitted for building permit approval.

The SWQMP (Stormwater Quality Management Plan) is permanent. It is created to define and control the handling of stormwater runoff from the completed project site permanently. It applies to the property, post-construction and as such is the responsibility of the property owner. Typically an SWQMP must be filed and recorded as a prerequisite to filing for a building permit.

Construction/installation of the permanent stormwater quality features (ponds, oil/water separators, etc.) called for in the SWQMP is typically carried out by the General Contractor during the construction and as a result, the GC is responsible for their installation according to the SWQMP specification. This means that at completion of construction, regulatory personnel typically inspect the features installed as a final step to issuance of the Owner’s Stormwater Quality Permit.

For more information on the SWPPP and SWQMP in Harris County and the City of Houston, visit the Clean Water Clear Choice website.

For more information, please contact us at 832.456.1000.