Stormwater Construction

The City of Cañon City is committed to protecting water resources and ensuring that future development continues in an environmentally-sound manner through implementation of effective erosion and sediment control Best Management Practices (BMPs) as a standard for all land disturbance activities. To achieve that goal, the City has a permitting program for grading, erosion, and sediment control on public and private construction projects within the incorporated limits of the City.

Purpose of Regulation

When the landscape is altered to accommodate the development of residential or commercial uses, soil is disturbed. That disturbance creates the potential for mobilization of soils through erosion created by stormwater runoff from construction sites. Erosion and sedimentation damage property and degrade water quality in streams and lakes as well as disturb riparian and aquatic habitat. Sediment, considered a priority pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency, is also a transport mechanism for many other stormwater runoff related pollutants such as phosphorus and nitrogen.

The development, implementation, and enforcement of the City of Cañon City’s Grading, Erosion, and Sediment Control (GESC) permit program is mandated by the Federal Government and the State of Colorado through the Federal Clean Water Act’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and the Colorado Discharge Permit System (CDPS). The CDPS is administered by the Water Quality Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).


The City of Cañon City’s stormwater permit from the CDPHE requires that the City must:

  • Develop, implement and enforce a program to reduce pollutants in any stormwater runoff within the City from construction activities that result in a land disturbance of greater than or equal to one acre.
  • The program must also include reduction of pollutants in stormwater discharges from construction activity on sites disturbing less than one acre if the construction activity is part of a larger common plan of development that disturbs one acre or more.
  • The program must assure adequate design, implementation and maintenance of Best Management Practices (BMPs) at construction sites in order to reduce pollutant discharges and protect water quality.
  • Protect water quality through the development, implementation and enforcement of a stormwater management program designed to reduce the discharge of pollutants from the incorporated lands within the City to the Maximum Extent Practicable (MEP).
  • At a minimum, the program must include the development and implementation of:
    1. An ordinance or other regulatory mechanism to require erosion and sediment controls, as well as sanctions to ensure compliance, to the extent allowable under State or local law. (Ordinance Number 20 - 2005 (PDF))
    2. Requirements for construction site operators to implement appropriate erosion and sediment control BMPs.
    3. Requirements for construction site operators to control waste such as discarded building materials, concrete truck washout, chemicals, litter and sanitary waste at the construction site in order to minimize adverse impacts to water quality.
    4. Procedures for site plan review which incorporate consideration of potential water quality impacts.
    5. Procedures for receipt and consideration of information submitted by the public.
    6. Procedures for site inspection and enforcement of control measures.

Projects Requiring a GESC Permit

The City of Cañon City requires that a GESC Permit be obtained prior to the start of land-disturbing activities within the incorporated areas of the City.

Projects which Require a Standard GESC Permit include:

  • All commercial development sites, regardless of disturbed acreage
  • Any project that the City Engineer determines to have a potential impact to the health, safety and welfare of people and/or the environment
  • Any project which disturbs 1 acre or more
  • Any site plan which requires a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) construction permit
  • GESC Permits are still required for projects meeting the criteria identified herein even if a Federal or State agency or another jurisdiction has previously approved the project and issued a permit for the work - projects which do not require a GESC Permit are still obligated to control erosion and sediment
  • New development and redevelopment on sites less than 1 acre if part of a larger common plan of development or sale that would disturb, or has disturbed since March 2, 2001, 1 acre or more unless the disturbed areas have been finally stabilized. A “common plan of development or sale” is a contiguous area (within 1/4 mile) where multiple separate and distinct construction activities may be taking place at different times on different schedules, but remain related.


Control measures (BMPs) must be installed prior to any land disturbing activity.

Permitting for Individual Residential Projects

Through the GESC Permit Program, in addition to the City Building Department, the Engineering Department also retains regulatory authority over the construction of detached single-family residential projects. For building lots less than one acre which are a part of a larger development, or project, the Engineering Department’s regulatory involvement begins at the onset of land-disturbing activities and continues until final stabilization of every individual residential lot is achieved through the Drainage, Erosion, and Sediment Control (DESC) program. Under that program, the Engineering Department retains regulatory authority through the fulfillment of the requirements of the DESC which the developer, owner, or builder is required to complete or face enforcement action.

Best Management Practices

Structural BMPs are used for runoff, sediment, and erosion control on construction sites. There are various structural BMPs that may be used on construction sites - such as:

  • Check Dams
  • Diversion Dikes
  • Filter Berms and Socks
  • Sediment Basins and Traps
  • Silt Fences
  • Storm Drain Inlet Protection
  • Straw Bales and Vegetated Buffers

The types of BMPs used on a particular site should be considered carefully and used correctly to achieve the best possible results. BMPs need to be maintained so they retain their function. Please see the Stormwater Construction Forms and Links page for forms and information related to construction.

Control Measures (BMPs) Fact Sheet (PDF)