The Stormwater Management Requirements and Design Guidelines (SMR) outlines the mandatory requirements for managing post-construction stormwater runoff and provides guidance on how to incorporate green infrastructure into site design. The performance requirements vary depending on the type of sewer system servicing a project (combined or separate), the agency with jurisdiction over the project (SFPUC or Port), and the size of the project. Refer to the SMR Summary Flyer for more information.
The Stormwater Management Ordinance (SMO) – Public Works Code, Article 4.2 Sections 147-147.6 – requires compliance with the SMR. It applies to all new and redevelopment projects that create and/or replace 5,000 square feet or more of impervious surface in combined sewer areas or 2,500 square feet or more in separate sewer areas.
- Electronic PDF submittal ONLY for projects submitting via ‘Parcel SCP Project Information Form'.
- Electronic PDF submittal ONLY for projects submitting via ‘Multi-Phase SCP Project Information Form'; however, SFPUC may request a hardcopy when needed.
- *NEW* Please use 2022-23 Fee Schedule after July 1, 2022: SCP Review Fee and Check Submittal Guidelines
*NEW* - Bioretention Specification: July 2022 update
*NEW* - Pervious Concrete Specification: July 2022 update
*NEW* - Rainwater Harvesting Policy Update 2022
*NEW* - GI Typical Details (Version 3) – (PDF) and (DWG)
How To Comply With the Requirements
If you are constructing a Large Project (≥5,000 square feet), the following actions are required:
Step 1: Use this map to determine if your project is located in an area served by the combined or separate sewer system.
Step 2: Identify the applicable performance requirement, as indicated by sewer system.
- Combined Sewer Areas
- Sites with existing imperviousness of ≤50%: stormwater runoff rate and volume shall not exceed pre-development conditions for the 1-and 2-year, 24-hour design storm
- Sites with existing imperviousness of >50%: stormwater runoff rate and volume must be reduced by 25% relative to pre-development conditions for the 2-year, 24-hour design storm
- Separate Sewer Areas
- Capture and treat the rainfall from a design storm of 0.75 inches
More information on the performance requirements can be found in the Stormwater Management Requirements and Design Guidelines (SMR), Chapters 5 & 6.
Step 3: Schedule a pre-application meeting with the SMR Project Review Team
Scheduling a pre-application meeting early during the planning and team building process is encouraged to minimize design challenges and project schedule delays. Project proponents should come prepared with relevant project information such as: existing site condition, site plans, overall architectural plans/elevations, soil conditions, and the proposed stormwater concepts, etc.
Email email@example.com to schedule a 60 minute pre-application meeting. Meetings can be scheduled Tuesdays 1 - 4 PM or Thursdays 10 AM - 1 PM.
Step 4: Submit a Modified Compliance Application (if applicable)
To establish a more fair and flexible standard, projects with proven site challenges and limitations are eligible to meet the SMR by adhering to the Modified Compliance Program. The Modified Compliance Program:
- Applies only to projects in the Combined Sewer System
- Evaluates site limitations such as: high groundwater, shallow depth to bedrock, poorly infiltrating soils, contamination, and zero lot-line projects
- Assesses project potential for non-potable demand
- Modifies volume and peak rate reduction requirements based on approved site-specific constraints
To be considered for the Modified Compliance Program, please submit a completed MC Application to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to submitting a Preliminary SCP. See the SMR, Chapter 5, for more information.
Step 5: Submit a Preliminary Stormwater Control Plan
Develop a Preliminary Stormwater Control Plan (SCP) in accordance with the SCP Instructions and submit it for review and approval to the SFPUC with the appropriate SCP Review Fee. A Preliminary SCP must be approved by the SFPUC prior to issuance of a Site or Building Permit from the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection.
The SCP Instructions and tools for developing an SCP can be found in SCP Resources and Materials section below.
Step 6: Submit a Final Stormwater Control Plan
Once the Preliminary SCP is approved with conditions, a Final SCP needs to be submitted with SCP Review Fee to construction and parallel to the DBI addenda permitting process. Whereas a Preliminary SCP generally demonstrates the stormwater management approach, the Final SCP provides more construction level detail and background information that proves the stormwater management approach complies with the SMR and functions safely. If the Final SCP is complete and demonstrates compliance with the SMR, it will receive Approval with Conditions. Typical Conditions are outlined in Step 7 and must be completed to obtain Final Approval.
A Final SCP must be approved by the SFPUC prior to issuance of a Certificate of Final Completion from the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection.
Step 7: Submit a Maintenance Agreement and Certification of Acceptable Construction
Projects are required to install stormwater best management practices (BMPs) and maintain them in perpetuity. A Maintenance Agreement must be signed and recorded to acknowledge and accept this maintenance responsibility.
During construction, the project’s Engineer of Record and/or Landscape Architect must observe all BMPs at major stages of construction and upon completion to ensure that the BMPs have been built in general accordance with the Final SCP Approved with Conditions. A Certification of Acceptable Construction must be signed and submitted to the SFPUC to verify observation of BMP construction.
The Maintenance Agreement Recordation Instructions and Template as well as the Certification of Acceptable Construction are available for download in the Additional Resources section. More information on the Maintenance Agreement and Certification of Acceptable Construction can be found in the SMR, Chapter 9.
Step 8: Inspect green infrastructure annually and submit Self-Certification Checklist(s) to the SFPUC
Once the project is complete, the property owner or a designated party must perform Annual Self-Certification inspections of all green infrastructure to ensure proper maintenance and functionality. Annual Self-Certification Checklists are due to the SFPUC prior to each rainy season on October 15th of each year after project completion.
Annual Self-Certification Checklists and Instructions for each BMP type are available for download in the SCP Resources and Materials section below. More information on Annual Self-Certification inspection can be found in the SMR, Chapter 10.
If you’re constructing a Small Project (2,500-5,000 square feet in Separate Sewer Areas) the following action is required:
Step 1. Implement at least one Site Design Measure, as outlined in Chapter 6 of the SMR.
Step 2. Submit an estimated runoff reduction volume to the SFPUC using the State Water Board SMARTS calculator, available for download in the SCP Resources and Materials section below.
- Combined Sewer Areas
Stormwater Management Requirements and Design Guidelines (SMR)
- Appendix A: BMP Fact Sheets
- Appendix B: Green Infrastructure Typical Details
- *NEW* - GI Typical Details (Version 3) - (PDF)
- *NEW* GI Typical Details (Version 3) - AutoCAD 2013 (DWG)
- Appendix C: Criteria for Infiltration-based BMPs
- Appendix D: Vegetation Palette for Bioretention BMPs
- Appendix E: Illustrative Green Infrastructure Examples
Stormwater Control Plan (SCP) Materials and Resources
SCP Submittal Resources
- SCP Review Fee Form
- Modified Compliance Application
- Project Information Form (Parcel)
- Project Information Form (Multi-Phase)
- Separate Sewer Area BMP Selection Form
- Technical Report Templates
- Maintenance Agreement Template
- Certification of Acceptable Construction Template
SCP Instructions and Preparation Guidance
- SCP Submittal Guidelines
- SCP Review Fee and Check Submittal Guidelines
- SCP Instructions (Parcel)
- SCP Instruction (Multi-Phase)
- SCP Preparation Checklists
- Example SMP with Calcs (pdf and CAD)
- Example SMP CAD drawings
- Infiltration Rate Testing Methods
- Rainwater Harvesting Guidance and Checklists
- Rainwater Harvesting Plumbing Symbol Legend
- Rainwater Harvesting Policy Update 2022
- Aggregate Filter Criteria
- Maintenance Agreement Recordation Instructions
- Combined Sewer Area (CSS) BMP Sizing Calculators v2.2.1
- Separate Sewer Area (MS4) BMP Sizing Calculators v2.0
- Small MS4 projects: Water Board Post-Construction Water Balance Calculator
- Design Storms: 1-year and 2-year 24-hour Design Storms
- SFPUC Accepted Hydrologic Calculation Methods
- Combined Sewer System and Separate Sewer System BMP Sizing Calculator Calculation Approach using the Santa Barbara Urban Hydrograph Method
GI Construction, Maintenance, and Inspection Guidance
Non-potable Ordinance (NPO) and SMO Synergies
- NPO-SMO One Water Factsheet
- Submittal Requirements for Projects Subject to the Stormwater Management Ordinance and Non-potable Ordinance
Other SMO Guidance
Archived 2010 - Stormwater Design Guidelines
The following informational materials and resources are only for projects that have submitted a Preliminary Stormwater Control plan (SCP) prior to May 27, 2016.
The San Francisco 2010 Stormwater Design Guidelines describe the requirements for stormwater management in San Francisco. The Guidelines were adopted by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission on January 12, 2010 and have since been in 2016 updated to the SMR.
- Stormwater Design Guidelines Handbook (January 2010)
- Stormwater Management Ordinance (May 2010)
- SFPUC Stormwater Management Requirements - Informational Letter (March 2013)
- Stormwater Design Guidelines Frequently Asked Questions (October 2012)
- Stormwater Best Management Practice (BMP) Fact Sheets (January 2010)
- Application of the Stormwater Design Guidelines Requirements to the Public Right-Of-Way (September 2013)
Amendments to the 2010 Stormwater Design Guidelines
- Amendment to the Applicability Date (July 2012)
- Amendment to the Stormwater Control Plan review process chart (July 2012)
BMP Sizing Calculators
- Separate Sewer Area BMP Sizing Calculators - Water Quality (November 2011)
- Combined Sewer System BMP Sizing Calculators v2.0 - Quantity Control (August 2015)
Hydrologic Calculation Methods and Background Information
- SFPUC Accepted Hydrologic Calculation Methods (August 2012)
- Combined Sewer Area BMP Sizing Calculator Approach using the Santa Barbara Urban Hydrograph Method (August 2015)
- Design Storms: 1-year and 2-year 24-hour Design Storms
Stormwater Control Plan
- Parcel SCP Instructions (February 2014)
- Parcel SCP Project Information Form (February 2014)
- Multi-Phase SCP Instructions (July 2014)
- Multi-Phase SCP Project Information Form (July 2014)
- SCP Technical Report Templates (February 2014)
- Maintenance Agreement Template (September 2012)
- Maintenance Agreement Recordation Instructions (August 2013)
For More Information Contact: email@example.com
Managing stormwater, which may otherwise wash pollutants into our waterways or overwhelm our sewer system, is critical to protecting water quality, wildlife, and public health. Like many California municipal agencies, the SFPUC administers a stormwater management program developed in accordance with the Clean Water Act. Effective May 22, 2010 and updated in 2016, the San Francisco Stormwater Management Ordinance (SMO) [LINK ]requires new and redevelopment projects to manage stormwater using green infrastructure (i.e. stormwater controls or best management practices) and to maintain that green infrastructure for the lifetime of the project.
Do the requirements apply to my project?
New and redevelopment projects that create and/or replace ≥5,000 square feet of impervious surface in the separate and combined sewer areas; and
New and redevelopment projects that create and/or replace 2,500-5,000 square feet of impervious surface in separate sewer areas.
Activities that create or replace impervious surface include, but are not limited to, the construction, modification, conversion, or alteration of any building or structure and the creation or replacement of outdoor impervious surfaces such as parking areas, driveways, or private street areas.
The SMR does not apply to the following activities:
- pavement maintenance activities such as top-layer asphalt grinding and repaving within the existing footprint;
- replacement of existing sidewalks and streets dedicated to and accepted by the City;
- interior remodeling projects;
- exterior wall surface replacement; or
- utility repair work requiring trenching or excavation with in-kind surface replacement.
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