Stormwater Design Standards Manual

About the Manual

The Stormwater Design Manual standardizes how stormwater elements of a project are designed, submitted, reviewed, approved, and inspected.

Check out the Stormwater Design Standards Manual (PDF).

The following is a link is to the final draft of the updated Stormwater Design Standards Manual that is to be considered by City Council during a workshop on 01/27/2020 at 3pm at City Hall (80 Broad Street). A public comment period will follow the workshop beginning at 4pm that day. Included is a one page fact sheet linked below for your convenience. 

January 2020 Draft Manual

SWDSM Fact Sheet 


In September 2007, the City of Charleston passed a more robust stormwater ordinance that incorporates requirements of the federally mandated NPDES Phase II stormwater program. As required, the new ordinance addresses elements of Minimum Control Measures (MCM) number four and five, construction-site stormwater control, and post-construction stormwater control, respectively.

The stormwater ordinance also authorized the development and implementation of a Stormwater Design Standards Manual (SWDSM) for use by the City of Charleston when reviewing, approving, and permitting construction, development, and re-development projects. The SWDSM standardizes engineering and construction practices within the City of Charleston’s jurisdiction. It will serve to:

  • Provide application submission requirements and the approval process
  • Provide technical design standards to address water quantity control
  • Provide technical design standards to eliminate the implementation of sub-optimal design and installation practices
  • Provide general information to improve water quality, prevent illicit discharges, and minimize stormwater runoff impacts
  • Provide other protection provisions related to stormwater discharges

Similarities to Other Standards

The SWDSM developed by the City of Charleston is very similar to the manual developed by Charleston County, and it shares many similarities to SCDOT standards. Where the SWDM differs from other standards, in many cases the City of Charleston found that certain design or installation practices create water quality or maintenance problems and it is attempting to prevent those problems from reoccurring.

Adoption & Updates

The SWDSM was formally adopted by the City Council on January 12, 2010. All new submissions for projects within the City of Charleston should be done in accordance with this manual.

After careful consideration and review of several sections of the manual, it has been updated and approved by the City Council as of February 8, 2011 and most recently February 26, 2013. Any project coming for review for the first time will need to adhere to these standards.


January 2020 Draft Manual