The first step in the construction process is design and planning. No construction company is going to begin work on a structure without engineered plans, detailed specifications, secured funding and necessary permits.
During the planning stage it is important to also consider the potential impacts construction will have on the surrounding environment. Will construction activities significantly alter the grade and drainage of an area thereby leading to increased erosion or flood risks? Will the work impact a threatened or endangered species? Are there historic or archaeological sites nearby to address? These are important items to review.
Considering the effects of stormwater on a site during all phases of the project should be high on the priority list but is often overlooked - especially in areas of considerably predictable or typically dry weather. Even so, a storm will arise at some point. Having assured the site is ready to manage the two – year, 24 – hour levels will allow all involved parties can rest easy.
Stormwater management doesn’t just happen, it is based in good engineering practices and involves a detailed awareness to the surrounding ecosystem, landscape, and potential hazards all while requiring the forethought and instinct to understand the best management practices to utilize for these factors and potential erosion concerns.
What is stormwater runoff?
Stormwater runoff is rain or melted snow which flows over land or impervious surfaces and does not soak into the ground. Runoff picks up pollutants, trash, oils and other harmful fluids and can reach our rivers, streams, lakes, etc. and therefore polluting that receiving water.
When do I need to worry about managing stormwater runoff?
Every person and entity should share a common concern and conscious effort to keep our public waterways clean through our daily activities. But, if you are in the construction, industrial or municipal sectors, each has a specified ‘minimum’ which requires the entity design and implement a stormwater management or stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWMP, SWPPP).
Construction activities which disturb ≥ one acre of earth or disturb less than one acre but are part of a common development plan (e.g. subdivision) are required to fulfill the NPDES stormwater program requirements.
Industrial activities which fall into one of 11 regulated sectors are also subject to the EPA’s Multi – Sector General Permit. Sectors include heavy manufacturing, landfills, airports, mineral mining facilities and others.
Stormwater discharges from municipal sources are also regulated. Polluted stormwater can travel through municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) into local waterbodies. These conveyances include storm drains, inlets and other publicly owned and maintained conveyance systems.
Each sector is subject to a specific regulating permit which outlines the minimum stormwater management and plan requirements.
What if I meet one of the above groups but do not have a stormwater plan?
If you are in the construction, industrial or municipal sectors and meet the requirements to have a SWPPP but do not, we recommend you prepare one quickly. Call E2RC to discuss your options or design your plan.
NPDES permitting authority varies from state to state – some entities are regulated by the EPA and others by the state itself. In either instance, the regulating authority may inspect your construction site or facility to determine its compliance with the regulating permit. Violations and subsequent monetary penalties will vary by state and violation, but the can grow quickly.
Significant positives to executing a stormwater plan include the protection of downstream resources, improved quality of receiving waterbodies, public health protection, regulatory compliance and, potentially, increased reputation and profitability.
If you are more interested in the financial benefits to you or your company, successful design and implementation of a stormwater pollution prevention plan will save you from monetary penalties and intangible costs related to reputation damage and time spent resolving identified issues and enhancing your compliance practices.
Whether you develop a stormwater management or pollution prevention plan in – house or through a third – party provider, ensure the preparer is knowledgeable about state and local regulations, best practices and uses good engineering practices. Review the SWPPP thoroughly and complete regular training sessions with each participating person or stakeholder. Enable you and your stormwater team to succeed through sound application and effective designs – and keep and eye on the weather forecast to prepare in advance of precipitation events.
E2RC provides intelligent stormwater management services. Our experts can evaluate any natural impacts regarding specific construction measures with an ability to minimize the impact on the environment and protect the necessary functionality around each and every construction or industrial project site.
Since 2006, E2RC has been leading the focus on stormwater compliance and site management. Any and all of your questions regarding what impact new or additional construction may have to the environment can be readily addressed by one or a team of our willing and ready professionals. Contact us at 505-867-4040 or fill out a form request today!