Earthworks and water management

This section contains instructions for excavating and blasting of rock for excavation, landscape works, stormwater management on plots, domestic wastewater processing in sparsely populated areas, and construction in groundwater areas.

On this page

A landscape work permit is required for digging, quarrying or other similar activities. However, a landscape work permit does not apply to the extraction of soil that requires a permit under the Land Extraction Act. Read more on the  Environmental permit and notifications  page.

The soil, materials and invasive alien species at the construction site must be tested and identified before construction. Any waste and secondary materials found in the soil will also be tested at this time.

During the planning phase, an expert will carry out a geotechnical investigation and give a statement on the type of foundation. The properties of the soil must be determined because they affect foundation engineering and other matters.

For more detailed instructions:

  • Processing instructions for excavated earth and aggregate (PDF, 4 MB)

A landscape work permit is not required if the construction work is in accordance with a building or action permit, is necessary for the implementation of a general or detailed plan or is judged by Building Control to have a minor impact. If none of these conditions are met, you must obtain a landscape work permit for earthworks that change the landscape.

Stormwater is defined as the rain and meltwater that is led away from the ground and the roofs of buildings or other surfaces. It should be primarily absorbed and utilised at the source.  In general, the water runoff from the roof accounts for the majority of the stormwater on a plot.

If your plot has difficulties absorbing stormwater, you should take steps to slow the water down for as long as possible before it is discharged to the municipal stormwater system or the waste management company HSY’s stormwater sewer. Depressions and in the ground and trenches are the most effective ways to do this. If necessary, underground structures or green roofs should also be utilised.

If the stormwater is led outside the plot, into ditches or the like, the holder of the property must ask for the landowner’s permission.

A stormwater plan is a special plan, which is made jointly with planners from several specialty fields.

For more detailed instructions:

Small amounts of domestic wastewater from a residential property may be led into the ground without being treated, if the wastewater does not contain sewage from a flush toilet and if the amount is small and does not pose a risk of contaminating the environment.

The amount of wastewater is considered to be small, if it is carried or led through a temporary pipe, or if the property in general uses small amounts of water and is humbly equipped. If you are uncertain if you need a permit, please contact us by clicking on “Kysy neuvoa (Ask for advice)” in the Lupapiste online permit service.

You will need an action permit if you are building a new wastewater management system or making changes to an existing one.
When filling in your application for an action permit on Lupapiste, more detailed information on the necessary attachments will be made available to you.

The following attachments are normally required:

  • power of attorney
  • building drawings
  • specific plans for the water and sewage systems
  • wastewater management system plan (In Finnish, PDF, 1 MB)
  • user and maintenance instructions for the system
  • statement from a geotechnical engineer if the treated wastewater will be absorbed into the ground.

For more detailed instructions:

The City of Helsinki has important groundwater areas in the districts of Vuosaari, Tattarisuo, Santahamina, Isosaari and Vartiokylä. In addition, the area of Fazerila, which is mainly located inside the City of Vantaa, is a groundwater area.

Visit the Map Service for more information on groundwater areas. When you open the map in a new window, you can enter a street address and the service will indicate if your project site is possibly located in a groundwater area.

When you apply for a construction permit in a groundwater area, please attach a groundwater management plan that has been prepared by an expert and a groundwater monitoring programme.

For more detailed instructions: 

Groundwater areas on the map

Open the map in a new window - Open larger map(Link leads to external service)