In part one of this extended two-part blog series, we looked at the importance of stormwater pollution prevention plans (SWPPPs), and some of the key elements that are typically present within them. SWPPP is a vital area of consideration for any significant construction project, ensuring not only environmental friendliness, but also legal compliance.

At Silver Leaf SWPPP, we're happy to offer an extensive range of SWPPP services to clients in Idaho and nearby states, including SWPPP inspections, street sweeping solutions and much more. In today's part two of our series, we'll shift gears a bit and look at a few other important tenets of SWPPP: The vital realm of inspections and how often they need to happen, plus some typical approaches that will be found on many construction sites to help with SWPPP formulation and compliance.

Vital SWPPP Inspections

In part one of our series, we went over the guidelines that cover SWPPP permits, which are required federally but governed by states and even sometimes local municipalities. Once you have obtained your permit and are covered within it, however, the process is not simply finished - rather, inspections will be a major continuous part of the picture.

There are two kinds of inspections that will take place here:

  • By the General Contractor: The more common inspections will be done by the General Contractor in charge of the project, or by a separate inspector hired by the General Contractor.
  • By government agencies: Local, state and federal agencies all have the right to inspect construction sites at any time, and you can expect them to show up at least once a week in most cases.

For inspections by the General Contractor, federal regulations require that this person be "qualified" - there are no specific guidelines that define this term, but it is generally assumed that a person who can read and interpret a SWPPP (which we went over in part one) possess the necessary skills. These inspections must be carried out at least once every seven calendar days, or once every 14 days plus after any rain event that results in at least 0.25 inches of water. In many cases of protected waters or related areas, these requirements will be even stricter. And as we noted in part one, some states or local municipalities will be extremely strict and require multiple inspections per week.

Government inspections, on the other hand, can be a bit more random - they may show up more than once a week, or sometimes far less. However, because of the potentially significant fines that can come with non-compliance in this regard, it's always best to be prepared for them with the right documentation and active SWPPP measures in place.

Common Approaches to SWPPP Compliance

There are a few key approaches that you’ll see on virtually any construction site when it comes to ensuring compliance with an SWPPP. In a broad sense, these can include the following:

  • Site management and maintenance: This is perhaps the most important element of all - it requires that the contractor in charge of the project take a proactive approach to SWPPP compliance. This means proper signage to warn of potential hazards, physical barriers such as silt fences (or other sediment control measures) and stormwater management systems, plus much more.
  • Inspections: As we went over above, regular inspections will be an important part of the picture, with both general contractor inspections and government inspections occurring on a regular basis.
  • Documentation: Documentation is also vitally important - this means keeping detailed records of all SWPPP-related activities, including inspections, as well as any other related events such as rainfalls that may necessitate additional inspection or control measures.

Getting a bit more specific, some distinct SWPPP practices that are often used on jobsites include:

  • Fencing: As we noted above, silt fences or other physical barriers are often used to help control the movement of sediment.
  • Sediment tracking: As with documentation, tracking of sediment movement and deposition is also important - this can help to quickly pinpoint any problems that may arise.
  • Controlling concrete runoff: Another key element is controlling the runoff of concrete, asphalt and other materials that are used in construction.
  • Storm sewer inlet protection: In many cases, stormwater inlets will need to be protected from sediment and other potential pollutants that may enter the sewer system.
  • Stormwater retention systems: Last but not least, some sites may require more significant stormwater management techniques than others - this could include the use of retention ponds or other methods of collecting and storing water before it is released.

In summary, ensuring compliance with an SWPPP is essential for any construction project. As we’ve seen here, having the right site management, inspection and documentation practices in place can go a long way towards achieving this goal.

For more here, or to learn about any of our SWPPP services for Idaho clients, speak to our team at Silver Leaf SWPPP today.

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