In order to discuss the elements of a storm water prevention pollution plan (SWPPP), you will first need to understand what a stormwater runoff is and as well as its impacts. Stormwater runoff is basically snowmelt or rain that flows over land and is not absorbed by the soil. This phenomenon occurs naturally on any type of land during spring and large storm events and surfaces such as buildings, roads and parking lots and alters the natural hydrology of the land by increasing the velocity and volume of the runoff. This in turn can lead to bank erosion, flooding and other problems. In addition, as the stormwater moves, it can pick up trash and other pollutants such as oil, pesticides and toxins and affect drinking water supplies and wildlife at the same time.
A storm water pollution prevention plan basically lays out the steps and techniques that will be used to reduce the potential pollutants from a construction site. The plan must follow the TCEQ Construction General Permit guidelines, and must be developed by a specialist in the field who knows the applicable requirements of the law. The SWPPP identifies all potential pollution sources that could come in contact with the stormwater that leaves your construction site and describes the measures that you have taken to reduce these pollutants as much as possible. In addition, the plan also includes records of site inspections and follow-up maintenance that will be performed at the construction site.
The main elements of a SWPPP are the contact information of those who have made the plan, a description of the site activity and a map of the site, the identification of potential pollutant sources, maintenance procedures, inspection records, SWPPP amendments and certifications. Even though the SWPPP can be named differently such as: erosion, sedimentation and pollution prevention plan or a construction best practices plan; the main requirements are for it to comply with the EPA’s general construction permit. It is important to understand the difference between erosion control and sediment control when developing the SWPPP, as these notions are different. Erosion control measures or Best Management Practices (BMP’s) include the protection of the surface of the soil and the prevention the particles from being dislodged and carried away by water and wind. These measures can include vegetative covers, mulch and others. Sediment control measures imply the removing of soil particles after they have been dislodged and they are much more expensive and difficult to put into practice compared to erosion control measures.
To conclude, when it comes to developing a SWPPP it is always best to work with a specialist in the field who knows what to do in every situation and how to develop a good plan. A specialist will provide a complete plan narrative that complies with the required regulatory documentation at a great price. In addition, the specialist will also offer you more information regarding this plan and anything else you will need to know to avoid any problems. In addition, dedicated consultants can also be by your side in case an inspector comes to assess your documentation.
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