Storm Water Quality, Grading and Drainage Ordinances

Local ordinances regulating storm water quality and grading and drainage. Ordinances have been in effect since January 3, 2008. Copies of the  ordinances are available at the Public Works office or online:

What effect do the rules have on your project? The policy and procedural changes resulting from the rules for grading, drainage and erosion control have been summarized and are available online. To assist property owners, contractors and engineers with the details and procedures for complying with the rules, a "Design Manual for Grading, Drainage and Erosion Control" has been developed and is available for download. Failure to abide by these rules can subject you to work delays, penalties, or imprisonment.



Erosion over roadway

Keep your Dirt!

Muddy water leaving your construction site is a red flag that is sure to get the attention of inspectors. Avoid work delays and fines. Keep your dirt on-site by implementing effective best management practices (BMPs).

  • Install erosion and sediment controls properly at the beginning of construction
  • Clear the smallest area possible in which to complete your work and keep as much of the existing vegetation as possible
  • Stabilize disturbed soil areas immediately after final grading
  • Divert storm water away from your disturbed areas
  • Slow down storm water runoff before it leaves your site
  • Install gravel entrance to minimize tracking of dirt onto roadways
  • Maintain BMPs throughout your project.



Frequently Asked Questions

What information is needed for the Grading Permit application?

What do I do if I need to make changes during construction?

Construction work needs to conform to the Grading Plan that was approved by Public Works. If there are changes, you must submit a revised Grading Plan to Public Works for review and approved.

Are Inspections Needed?

All grading is subject to inspections.

When can I begin construction?

After your Grading Permit is issued, you must contact Public Works to schedule a pre-construction meeting. You need to provide at least 48 hours advance notice to Public Works and you cannot begin any earthwork until after the pre-construction meeting has been held.

How long will it take to get a Grading Permit?

This can vary considerably depending on the number of Plans under review by Public Works and the nature of your project. Generally speaking, Public Works tries to process Grading Permits within 30 days after a complete submittal. You can help expedite the process by being sure that your application is complete and that all required information is accurate and adequately detailed.

Do I need a Construction Storm Water Discharge Permit?

If you are disturbing more than one acre of soil, the State Water Resources Control Board requires that you obtain permit coverage for the discharge of stormwater from your site. You can obtain permit coverage under the statewide “General Permit for Discharges of Storm Water Associated with Construction Activities.” In general, you will be required to submit a “Notice of Intent (NOI)” to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Board (Water Board) and prepare a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan describing the on-site control measures that will be implemented to reduce pollutant discharges from your site to the “maximum extent practicable.” Once you apply for permit coverage, you will be given a “waste discharge identification number (WDID)” by the Water Board. This number needs to be shown on the grading plans and provided to Public Works prior to permit issuance. Additional Information about Water Board's stormwater discharge permit requirements is available from their website at Public Works staff also has information available to help in your compliance efforts. Note that you may be required to apply for stormwater discharge permit coverage from the Water Board even if a grading permit from the County is not required.

Do I need to get approvals from other County Departments?

If you have an approved tentative parcel map (TPM) or an approved tentative subdivision tract map (TSTM), Public Works does not require other County agencies to review your grading plan since an inter-departmental project review has already been done and the grading plan is a part of the required improvement plans. However, if the proposed grading is not associated a building permit, CUP, TPM, or TSTM, Public Works will circulate your Grading Permit application to other County departments to ensure that the proposed work is consistent with building codes, local zoning, land use, and environmental control requirements.

Do I need to hire a professional civil engineer to prepare my grading plans?

Grading plans must be prepared by a California-licensed civil engineer if the grading involves more than 1,000 cubic yards of material. Engineered plans may be required for lesser amounts of grading if special conditions exist or as necessary to ensure slope stability, proper drainage, or public safety.

What grading standards must be followed?

The minimum standards for all grading are outlined in our Design Manual for Grading, Drainage and Erosion Control. These requirements have been adopted by the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors and are applicable to all grading within unincorporated Calaveras County. Even if you are not required to get a permit for your project, you must still follow the basic rules to protect public health and safety and the environment.

Design Manual

How do I get a Grading Permit?

Grading Permits are issued by the County’s Department of Public Works. To apply for a Grading Permit, you need to complete an application form that is available from the Public Works office or online. Along with the completed application form, you will need to submit a Grading Plan (four copies) for review by Public Works and pay the appropriate fees.

For single family residences, the Building Department may direct you to Public Works to apply for a Grading Permit.

Do I need a Grading Permit?

A Grading Permit is generally required if the volume of earthmoving exceeds 50 cubic yards. Grading permits are not required if you are disturbing less than one acre and the depth of fill is less than one foot or the depth of excavation is less than two feet. Other permit exceptions are listed in Section 15.05.080 of Grading and Drainage Ordinance. Even if you are not required to get a permit for your project, you must still follow the basic rules to protect public health and safety, and the environment.

For projects that are judged to pose a minimal threat to public health and safety, and the environment, we simply require notification of our office by filing an application and simple site plan. For more complex projects, the requirements become progressively more stringent and may involve professional engineering.

How much will a Grading Permit cost?

For minor grading projects, a deposit of $963 will be collected to cover the County's cost of plan review and site inspection. For grading projects that require certification by a professional engineer, a deposit of $1,313 will be collected.

Pyrethroid Pesticide Outreach Links