Does Your Project Need a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan?

If you have a project that requires a construction general permit, the state of California says you may need to create a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan with a qualified developer. Even if stormwater runoff management is not a part of your regular business dealings, you will probably have instances where you work on a project that requires an SWPPP. Here are the basics.

What Is Storm Water Pollution?

There are a few ways that pollution could enter California’s water system. On a construction site, there are threats from contaminants created as part of the building process, and from disrupting the soil. Stormwater runoff can push toxins off the site and into the sewer system or other waterways.

Many federal, state and local government organizations work to keep pollutants out of stormwater, so that they may safely be able to use that water for other purposes. Anyone working on a construction site should be aware of how their particular actions could affect the nearby water systems, even if they are not the ones managing the construction project at-large. Stormwater discharge is managed by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System but is also regulated by local water boards.

What Is an SWPPP?

Projects that involve some disruption of soil may need a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan. Making an SWPPP requires a careful analysis of the construction site, intended plans, and how they may ultimately affect stormwater runoff that runs across the site. The SWPPP calls attention to every possible source of pollution, which may concern materials or equipment brought to the site, or toxins present on the land. With this information, the SWPPP identifies a plan to prevent stormwater pollution, in compliance with local and federal regulations.

When Does a Construction Project Need an SWPPP?

Not all construction projects have to develop an SWPPP. The limitations are related to project size and intent. Construction that involves the moving of more than one acre of soil requires an SWPPP. People who are only responsible for excavating a small amount of land as part of a larger development may still need to obtain an SWPPP. Although the initial grading and excavation is subject to this permit, maintenance work may not.

Who Is Responsible for the Construction General Permit?

The Legally Responsible Person (LRP) who applies for the construction general permit is on the hook to arrange for and implement the SWPPP. The LRP can be the:

In many cases, there could be several people eligible to take on the role as LRP. In that instance, all the potential LRPs must select a single person to serve in this position.

How Is an SWPPP Implemented?

An SWPPP has to be created with a qualified SWPPP developer (QSD). This person must maintain a certification as indicated in the rules for the construction general permit. Many people who work as professional engineers, land surveyors or geologists have certified as a QSD. The California Stormwater Quality Association maintains a list of QSDs with a current certification that construction project managers can use to find a qualified person in the area. Although the SWPPP is designed by the QSD, the LRP remains ultimately responsible for the accurate implementation of the plan.

Protecting stormwater runoff is an important component of many construction projects, which is why they often require a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan. Ensuring that your contracting business’s activities help to preserve the safety of the local water system offers benefits to everyone. For more information about becoming a contractor or preparing for licensing exams, contact CSLS today!