Stormwater Construction Permitting Information

Freshwater Wetlands Program and Stormwater Construction Permitting Ground-Mounted Solar Array Guidance


The RIDEM Office of Water Resources has published the Freshwater Wetlands Program and Stormwater Construction Permitting Ground-Mounted Solar Array Guidance. The purpose of this guidance document is to help design professionals prepare applications that are more likely to satisfy all RIDEM permitting standards and requirements, which in turn will facilitate timely and efficient review by RIDEM. Project designers should consult this guidance document for any project involving a proposal of ground-mounted solar array(s) in Rhode Island. This document is intended to act as supplemental guidance and is not intended to be a substitute for any applicable Rules or Regulations, including but not limited to the Rhode Island Stormwater Management Design and Installation Rules (Stormwater Rules) (250-RICR-150-10-8) and the Rules and Regulations Governing the Administration and Enforcement of the Fresh Water Wetlands Act (250-RICR-150-15-1).

RIPDES Construction General Permit Expedited Review

Consistent with Section I.D.1.b.ii of the 2020 RIPDES Construction General Permit (CGP), RIDEM Office of Water (OWR) has implemented reduced application submittal requirements and an accelerated permit application review process for eligible projects, referred to as the RIPDES CGP Expedited Review. Eligible projects are those that ONLY require a RIPDES CGP (no other permits are required from RIDEM OWR) AND will disturb less than 5 acres over the course of the entire project. A complete application submittal for eligible projects consists of the following:

Eligible projects will be automatically authorized within 30 days of application receipt, unless the applicant is otherwise notified that a full review is required. Certain eligible projects will require a full review, in which case RIDEM OWR will notify the applicant within 30 days of application receipt. Common triggers for a full review include seeking a technical justification or waiver for applicable minimum standards, proposal of Land Uses of Higher Potential Pollutant Load (LUHPPL), a current or former remediation plan with OLRSMM, some discharges to impaired waters, or other unusual site characteristics. RIDEM OWR may require a full review for any application if other triggers exist.

RIPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharge Associated with Construction Activity

The 2020 RIPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharge Associated with Construction Activity (Construction General Permit or "CGP") is in effect as of September 26, 2020, with an expiration date of September 25, 2025.

2020 RIPDES Construction General Permit

Streamlined Stormwater Construction Permitting

RIDEM OWR has merged several application forms into one application for stormwater construction permitting. The form consolidates the application forms for Water Quality Certification (WQC) Application, Stormwater Groundwater Discharge/Underground Injection Control (GWD/UIC), and RIPDES Construction General Permit (CGP). 

WQC/Stormwater Permit Search

View Permit Status, Historical Information and download available documents from our Permit Search below:

Applying for a Stormwater Construction Permit

For stormwater construction projects subject to RIDEM OWR permitting, including Freshwater Wetlands (FWW), Water Quality Certification (WQC), Groundwater Discharge/Underground Injection Control (GWD/UIC), and the Rhode Island Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (RIPDES) Construction General Permit (CGP), only one application is required to be submitted to RIDEM. OWR will issue a single permit letter with all pertinent authorizations, as applicable.

You must submit an application if your project meets any of the following criteria:

(1) There are Freshwater Wetlands on the property, AND the project proposes any of the following:

  • New or increased impervious cover for property other than a single family home; or
  • Disturbance of more than 10,000 sq. ft. of existing impervious cover; or
  • Fill in any amount in a floodplain or;
  • An alteration of storm flowage to a river or stream or wetland on any lot.

(2) The project proposes an infiltration system(s) listed in section 5.3 of the RISDISM (i.e. infiltration trench, infiltration basin, UIC chamber or dry well) that receives stormwater from:

  • A residential impervious area that is more than 10,000 sq. ft.; or
  • A non-residential roof area greater than 10,000 sq. ft; or
  • Any non-residential (commercial, industrial, institutional…) road or parking area of any size.

(3) The project proposes discharge of stormwater directed to a water of the State (including a Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) and:

  • Disturbs more than 1 acre of property (meaning disturbance down to the erodible surface); or
  • Disturbs less than 1 acre but the activity is part of a larger common plan resulting in more than 1 acre of disturbance.

(4) A Water Quality Certification is required (i.e the project proposes any of the following):

  • A discharge that requires a federal permit, including but not limited to the following:

    - Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

    - New construction or expansion of a marina

    - Fill in waters of the U.S.

    - Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE) Individual Permit

    - ACOE Fill in Coastal Waters
  • Harbor Management Plans
  • Flow Alterations/Water Withdrawal
  • Stormwater Master Plan

Unless otherwise noted below under “Exceptions”, all stormwater construction permit applications require submission of the following materials, at a minimum:


If you require a Freshwater Wetlands Permit you must apply through the FRESHWATER WETLANDS program AND include the application materials listed above. See the RI Freshwater Wetlands Rules and Regulations for more information.

RIPDES CGP Expedited Review: If you ONLY require a RIPDES Construction General Permit (CGP) AND your project will disturb less than 5 acres over the course of the entire project, you must submit only the following:


OWR highly recommends that you arrange for a pre-application meeting to meet with the pertinent representatives from the OWR permitting programs during the planning and design phase of the project. To schedule a pre-application meeting contact Ron Gagnon, P.E. Administrator of the Office of Customer and Technical Assistance at or (401) 537-4013.