As our world becomes more and more focused on environmental responsibility, and with good reason, the realm of construction and stormwater pollution prevention plans (SWPPPs) only gains more importance. There are several basic things that construction project managers and clients alike may want to know about SWPPP setups, and one of the most common needs here is understanding the settings where SWPPPs are typically required.

At Silver Leaf SWPPP, we're here to help clients around Utah with all their SWPPP needs, from SWPPP permits and site documentation to SWPPP inspections, dewatering services and more. While the precise details here will depend on your exact project, location and other factors - all areas our team is here to assist you with - here are some basics on the settings where SWPPPs are generally required, plus some key factors to consider within each of them.

Agencies Who Regulate Stormwater Practices

Just from a general standpoint, it pays to have a basic understanding of which government agencies generally regulate the various aspects of stormwater management and SWPPP setup. At the federal level, the EPA - Environmental Protection Agency - oversees this entire department.

At the state level, there will be different agencies involved depending on location. There will also often be local regulations that apply here, and some states may even have separate agencies for different kinds of industries or projects. At Silver Leaf SWPPP, we're well-versed in the specific requirements of all these regulatory bodies, based on our experience helping numerous clients with similar setups before.

Which settings are these SWPPPs typically required in? Our next few sections will go over a few of the most notable.

Industrial Facilities or Activities

Within the broad realm of industrial operations, there are many specific types of facilities or activities that may be required to carry SWPPPs. These include industrial sectors like manufacturing, oil and gas drilling, mining, chemical processing and more.

In some cases, such as when dealing with petroleum products, the EPA will actually require companies to have an entire stormwater pollution prevention plan regardless of their actual water discharge volume. In many others, however, this will depend on the exact volume of water and other specific factors. Our team at Silver Leaf SWPPP has assisted clients with obtaining permits from all regulatory agencies, including federal, state and local ones.

Construction and Land Disturbance

While SWPPPs are not necessarily required for every construction project, they absolutely will be for any project that includes disturbance of one or more acres of land - or those that are less than an acre, but are part of a larger common plan or development. In addition, there may be other situations where specific construction activities require an SWPPP even if they do not meet the acreage threshold.

There are numerous activities that may qualify as "land disturbance" for these purposes:

  • Grading: This is when any land surface, including soil and rock layers, are altered or moved.
  • Excavation: Similar to grading, this refers to the removal of material from the land.
  • Filling: This is when materials like dirt or gravel are added to the land.
  • Road construction: This includes any activity related to building or improving roads.
  • Vegetation removal: Cutting down trees or removing other plant life from an area.

This is also not a complete list, and there may be other construction activities that require SWPPP permits. At Silver Leaf SWPPP, we have the expertise to help you navigate these requirements and obtain all necessary permits for your project.

Municipal Sewer Systems

Another area where SWPPPs may be required is in the realm of municipal sewer systems, which handle the collection and transport of sewage. These systems are regulated by state and local agencies, but there may also be federal requirements that apply to certain aspects.

Specifically, any Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems, also known as MS4s, must have SWPPPs. These refer to conveyance systems owned by some municipality that discharges water to the public, and they are regulated under NPDES stormwater permits. If you're unsure about whether an MS4 permit is required for your project, our team at Silver Leaf SWPPP can assist you with understanding and obtaining the necessary permits.

Agricultural Activities

Finally, there are several types of agricultural activities that may require SWPPPs as well. These include farming operations that meet certain thresholds for discharge or land disturbance - and in many cases, these requirements will depend on the scale and type of agricultural activity being performed.

For instance, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) must have SWPPPs if they discharge to certain types of waters. Other farms may require permits based on acreage disturbed or other factors. Regardless, our team at Silver Leaf SWPPP has experience assisting with all necessary permits and documentation for your agricultural project.

As you can see, there are many settings where SWPPPs are required - and in each of them, specific factors will determine the exact requirements that apply to your project. For more on this or any of our other services around Utah, speak to the staff at Silver Leaf SWPPP today.

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