Storm water is rainwater that runs off impervious surfaces such as streets, sidewalks, parking lots, and rooftops. The water is unable to infiltrate into the ground and carries contaminants such as pesticides, oil and grease, sediment, and fertilizers into surface waters – streams, rivers, and lakes. This water then runs rapidly into storm drains, sewer systems, and drainage ditches where it can cause erosion, flooding and water quality problems.

Drinking water comes from sources such as rivers, lakes, and groundwater, and increased pollution makes the water more costly and difficult to treat to drinking water standards. If storm water is allowed to infiltrate into the ground, it is filtered before entering nearby surface waters. By slowing the water down and lengthening its path to reach the surface water bodies, flooding risk decreases as well.

For information on UT Austin’s stormwater requirements that pertain to construction projects, including SWPPP Procedures, please see Environmental Requirements – Design Phase and Environmental Requirements - Construction Phase.

  • To ensure the environmental integrity of the campus water system by addressing flood, water quality, and erosion control
  • To work hand-in-hand with members of the campus community through education and outreach programs
  • To inspire and encourage proactive involvement by setting a positive example through leadership in developing innovative solutions to our campus environmental concerns
Report a concern

To report a surface water quality concern in Waller Creek or illegal dumping, please call EHS at (512) 471-3511 during normal service hours, Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Nights, weekends and holidays, please report these activities by dialing 911.

Storm Water Management Program

UT Austin holds a Phase 1 Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. A MS4 is the system of drainage that collects or conveys runoff and does not connect with a combined sewer or sewage treatment plant.  The permit requires the University to develop and implement a Storm Water Management Program (SWMP).

In addition to covering best management practices and routine maintenance, the program requires all construction projects that include outdoor disturbance must meet the criteria listed in the UT Austin storm water standard.

Discharges to the Storm Sewer System

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) approval is needed for discharges to the storm sewer system other than rain water. Please allow at least seven to ten business days to process a discharge request. In some cases, sampling may be required. If the discharge request is not submitted with adequate processing time, the project management team will be responsible for containerizing the discharge contents until the discharge is approved by EHS.

To submit a discharge request, you must be a UT representative possessing a current UT EID.

Submit Discharge Request

UT Austin is classified as a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). In order to be compliant with the terms of the University’s permit, illicit discharges to the storm sewer system are prohibited.

Examples of permissible discharges

(subject to EHS approval):
Examples of prohibited discharges:
  • Landscape irrigation
  • Uncontaminated groundwater
  • Water line flushes (dechlorinated)
  • Discharges from potable water sources (dechlorinated)
  • Air conditioning condensation
  • Swimming pools (dechlorinated)
  • Wash water with soaps and detergents
  • Water with silt and sediment
  • Excessive irrigation
  • Custodial waste (ex. wash water)
  • Chlorinated water

For information on power washing and other exterior building washing activities, please refer to the Exterior Building Washing Standards UT-EHS (PDF).  For additional information regarding discharges contact the EHS Department directly by calling (512) 471-3511.


To request a training or submit feedback, please reach out to us by calling (512) 471-3511 or send an email to

For additional training resources, please visit Environmental Programs Training.