Who Needs SWPPP in Utah?
Updated: Oct 1
If you’re in construction, you’re likely familiar with SWPPPs. But you don’t need a SWPPP for every project you do. Who needs SWPPP and how do you know when you need it? Silver Leaf SWPPP has the answers.
Exactly What Is SWPPP?
SWPPPs — stormwater pollution protection plans — are designed to protect the environment. These intricate, exacting regulations were created by the Environmental Protection Agency. However, each state has its own version of SWPPP, so if you operate or work for a construction company in a different state, you may notices differences in the rules you must follow.
The Intention of SWPPP
SWPPP is all about preventing erosion at construction sites. When it rains on a construction site, dirt and other contaminants can be washed into storm drains, polluting the stormwater.
While dirt doesn’t sound like a contaminant, the truth is that sediment can be harmful to waterways and is classified as a pollutant by the EPA. Sediment can clog sewer drains, causing flooding. It also clouds streams, rivers, ponds and lakes, preventing fish from finding the food they need to survive. The cloudy water also kills plants by preventing them from getting adequate sunlight.
For this reason, SWPPPs usually only apply to construction projects in which the earth is disturbed. That rules out most remodeling jobs.
Who Needs SWPPP?
In Utah, construction projects that disturb an acre of land or more need a SWPPP. You will also need a SWPPP if you disturb less than an acre if it is part of development that is more than an acre. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality defines disturbing land as clearing, grading or excavating. In these cases, you will need a Utah Pollutant Discharge Elimination System construction stormwater permit.
In some instances, you may get a waiver for a SWPPP. The possibility of qualifying for a waiver depends on a number of factors, including the likelihood of rainfall during the expected period of construction.
Silver Leaf SWPPP Can Help
It can be confusing to know exactly when you need a SWPPP and when you don’t. Getting a SWPPP and following it correctly takes time and money, so automatically getting one every time you do a project that disturbs land is not the best idea.
Many Utah construction companies work with Silver Leaf SWPPP for this purpose. We can tell you when you need a SWPPP and when you don’t, and when you can qualify for an exemption. Moreover, we can draw up your SWPPP for you and help you implement it.
While it is possible for a construction company to create their own SWPPP, if you are not well-versed in the process, it can be overwhelming. Not only are SWPPPs complicated and technical, but if they are drawn up or executed incorrectly, the UDEQ or the EPA can levy fines against you.