Rule 5- Construction/Land Disturbance Storm Water Permitting

The Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) works with city/county and state regulators to enforce Rule 5 regulations. Our primary responsibility under state law is to promote the wise use of soil, water, and related natural resources.  Soil erosion, and the resulting sedimentation, is one of our main resource concerns.

The requirements of Rule 5 apply to all persons who are involved in construction activity (which includes clearing, grading, excavation and other land disturbing activities) that results in the disturbance of one acre or more of total land area. If the land disturbing activity results in the disturbance of less than one  acre of total land area, but is part of a larger common plan of development or sale, the project is still subject to storm water permitting. Most land altering activities in Marion County will also require a drainage permit from Business and Neighborhood Services, even if they are under one acre.

Here are important resources associated with construction and other land disturbing activities in Marion County:

Submitting Rule 5 Information

Private Projects:
The Marion County SWCD shares responsibility for implementing Rule 5 regulations with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and the City of Indianapolis. The Marion County SWCD inspects all projects for erosion control compliance. To facilitate those inspections, project owners are required to send the following documents and information to the Marion County SWCD before any land disturbing activity begins. Please forward the following materials electronically to

  • Approved Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)
  • A copy of the Drainage Approval Letter from the City of Indianapolis Department of Business and Neighborhood Services
  • A copy of the Notice of Intent (NOI) sent to IDEM
  • The name and contact information of the person responsible for SWPPP compliance
  • A 48-hour notice before construction start-up

Review of City of Indianapolis Owned and Operated Projects:
The Marion County SWCD is responsible for the review and approval of all City of Indianapolis owned and operated projects. To submit a project for review, please submit the following electronically to Cheyenne Hoffa at

  • A draft copy of the Notice of Intent (NOI) to be sent to IDEM
  • A copy of the construction plan
  • The Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) and all attached maps, materials.

Reviewing Other projects:
If you need an Erosion Control/Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) reviewed, the Marion County SWCD can review the plan for a fee of $380.00. To submit a project for review, please send the following to Cheyenne Hoffa at

  • A draft copy of the Notice of Intent (NOI) to be sent to IDEM
  • A copy of the construction plan
  • The Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) and all attached maps, material
  • A check made out to the Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District for $380.00

Technical Services

Without proper erosion control prior and during earth-moving, off-site sedimentation can occur.

If you need help with an erosion problem on a construction site, schedule an appointment with our Resource Conservationist, Cheyenne Hoffa. Call the office to see if we can offer assistance with your situation (317) 786-1776.

Can Sediment Pollute?

Sediment is the #1 pollutant (by volume) in Indiana waterways! Different from a smokestack or sewer pipe (point source pollution), sediment is usually deposited over a wide area, which is why it is known as a non-point source pollutant.  In addition, sediment can have many other types of pollution attached to its soil particles.

The non-point pollution from construction sites can be mitigated through the use of best management practices (BMPs). These practices include silt fences or silt logs for perimeter protection, stone construction entrances and inlet protection devices. These and other practices are used by contractors to keep sediment and other construction related pollutants out of our waterways.

The silt fence used on this site needs repaired to keep sediment on-site and off of nearby roadways.

Once sediment enters the stormwater system it can appear in our waterways. This sediment plume in a retention pond is a good indicator that there is a serious sediment control problem nearby.

sediment plume of water into retention pond
severe tracking - streaks of brown soil on pavement from car tires out of construction site

Construction sites use a stone construction entrance to prevent vehicles from tracking unstabilized soils off-site. Severe tracking, shown on the left, can cause this sediment to enter our storm drains, and eventually our waterways.

Stop that dirt erosion watch campaign logo

The Marion County SWCD has had various individuals and groups contact us concerning construction site erosion and resulting sedimentation problems in their community.  As a result of these contacts we have developed our Stop That Dirt- Erosion Watch Campaign. We urge community members to help keep construction sites accountable and help to keep our local waters clear of sedimentation.