Tennessee Qualifying Local Program

Introduction to the Tennessee Qualifying Local Program (QLP)

The Phase II stormwater regulations include provisions allowing for streamlining and coordination among programs at the state and local levels. This is true for the regulation of construction site runoff. The qualifying local program provision for the management and oversight of stormwater runoff from construction activities allows for this streamlining. Under this provision, the State of Tennessee, which has been delegated NPDES authority, can formally recognize a municipal program that meets or exceeds the provisions of its own construction general permit. When this occurs, a permittee, responsible for a project within the jurisdiction of a recognized municipality, would follow that municipality’s requirements for stormwater management.

Per CFR 122.44(s), the Division of Water Resources can formally recognize a regulated Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) as a QLP that has been shown to meet or exceed the provisions of the General NPDES Permit for Discharges of Stormwater Associated with Construction Activities (CGP). If a construction site has submitted a program-specific Notice of Intent (NOI) to a participating QLP, and has obtained a Notice of Coverage (NOC), the operator of the construction activity is authorized to discharge under the CGP without the submittal of an NOI, Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), or related permit fee to the division.

The Tennessee QLP program was developed through a grant-funded stakeholder-driven process, with the intent of creating an effective program that incentivizes participation. Resultant incentives include streamlined QLP minimum requirements, a standardized interagency enforcement protocol, and recognition of QLP status as an alternative measurement of MS4 permit effectiveness. Obtaining QLP status is optional, but all regulated Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) are encouraged to consider participation.

Benefits of the QLP program include:

  • A more streamlined and efficient process for managing construction stormwater by eliminating permit and review duplication at the local and state levels;
  • Eliminating additional effort at the state level for construction site operators by providing only one set of requirements to follow; and
  • A more effective construction stormwater program resulting in greater water quality protection.

Current QLP Participants and Contact Information:

Application for QLP Status

A regulated MS4 seeking QLP status may notify the division at any time, utilizing the application form below. In addition to administrative information, the applicant will be asked to provide copies of their construction stormwater ordinances, site plan review and approval procedures, project inventory and tracking procedures, and enforcement response plan.

QLP Application CN-1374
Tennessee Municipal Construction Stormwater Project Review Checklist CN-1440

***Notice to Small MS4s***

The previous Small MS4 permit period acted as a pilot for the QLP program. As a result, QLP program language has been expanded to clarify minimum program and specialized reporting requirements. The 2022 Small MS4 Permit requires that any existing small MS4 Qualified Local Programs and any other small MS4s requesting QLP status to submit a completed signed QLP Application (CN-1374) to the Division of Water Resources.

The MS4s QLP Application and required attachments (listed below) must be provided to the Division electronically via water.permits@tn.gov for the Division’s review and consideration.

  • The MS4’s Construction stormwater ordinance or regulatory mechanism for violations, including civil penalties and procedures. Note: Indicate the portions of the ordinance or regulatory mechanism that are directly relevant to your application;
  • The MS4’s SWPPP/EPSC plan review and approval procedures; 
  • The MS4’s Construction site tracking and inventory procedures; 
  • Copies of Level I & II Certifications for appropriate staff (or equivalent); 
  • The MS4’s Construction site compliance inspection and documentation procedures; 
  • The MS4’s Enforcement Response Plan; and The MS4’s Public Information/Public Input Process.

Small MS4 QLP Minimum Requirements

  • Regulated MS4s must implement and maintain a construction site stormwater runoff control program that addresses stormwater runoff from construction activities, as identified in sub-section 4.2.4. of the 2022 Small MS4 General Permit; 
  • Legal authority, procedures, and processes to require construction site operators to prepare and submit an NOI, and related comprehensive SWPPP, as identified in Section 5 (SWPPP Requirements) of the CGP; 
  • Coordinate with the Division on confirming water resource inventory; 
  • Specific procedures (including tracking) for SWPPP review utilizing form Tennessee Municipal Construction Stormwater Project Review Checklist (CN-1440), approval, and NOC issuance; and 
  • Requirements for construction site operators to perform inspections and site assessments as identified in the CGP. 
  • The QLP program must also include a system for reporting to the Division, information related to construction sites authorized by the QLP. 


The following are the minimum QLP data reporting elements:

  • QLP tracking number 
  • QLP MS4 Jurisdiction 
  • Project Name 
  • Responsible Party, e.g. permittee 
  • Complete Street Address 
  • Site Description 
  • County 
  • Latitude (decimal degrees) 
  • Longitude (decimal degrees) 
  • Estimated Start Date 
  • Estimated End Date 
  • Acres Disturbed 
  • Total Acres 
  • Receiving Water 
  • Status (Pending, Active, Terminated) 

The minimum QLP data reporting elements shall be submitted in a spreadsheet format to Water.Permits@tn.gov or through the Division’s electronic reporting portal MyTDEC Forms (when available) at https://forms.tdec.tn.gov/ .