Department of Environmental Conservation

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Quarterly Visual Monitoring Fact Sheet

Permit Reference

Part IV.B1.a




To observe discharge for evidence of pollutants and determine effectiveness of BMPs

Applicable To

All facilities

Minimum Frequency

The examinations must be made at least once in each of the following three month periods:

  • January thru March
  • April thru June
  • July thru September
  • October thru December

Storm Event

All samples (except snowmelt samples) must be collected from discharges resulting from a qualifying storm event, in accordance with Part IV.A.2.b.(1).


Yes, Part IV.A.4

Collection Requirements & Tips

  • The examination must document observations of color, odor, clarity, floating solids, settled solids, suspended solids, foam, oil sheen, and any other obvious indicators of stormwater pollution.
  • The visual examination must be made during daylight hours (e.g., normal working hours).
  • The examination must be conducted in a well lit area.

Sampling Notes

If no qualifying storm event resulted in runoff from the facility during a monitoring quarter, the owner or operator is excused from visual monitoring for that quarter provided that documentation is included with the monitoring records indicating that no qualifying storm event occurred that resulted in stormwater runoff during that quarter.


No analytical tests are required. Visual monitoring Only.

Report Information

The report must include:

  • Outfall location,
  • Examination date and time,
  • Examination personnel
  • Nature of the discharge (i.e., runoff or snow melt),
  • Visual quality of the stormwater discharge (color, odor, clarity, floating solids, settled solids, suspended solids, foam, oil sheen, and other obvious indicators of stormwater pollution),
  • Probable sources of any observed stormwater contamination
  • Actions taken or proposed to be taken to eliminate these sources.

Follow Up

If the visual exam indicates the presence of pollutants, complete & document the following:

  1. Evaluate the facility for potential sources of stormwater contamination.
  2. Remedy the problems identified
  3. Revise SWPPP
  4. Repeat visual inspection during the first qualifying storm event following implementation of the corrective action,
  5. Credit as a Quarterly Visual Monitoring Examination. If the first qualifying storm event does not occur until the next quarterly monitoring period, the follow up evaluation may be used as the next quarterly visual inspections.


Quarterly Visual Monitoring Form (PDF) (29 KB)


Retain documentation with SWPPP. Answer applicable questions on the Annual Certification Report Form and submit by February 28th.