Stormwater is the water from rain, snow and sleet that travels down our gutters into storm drains.
Stormwater control is the process that monitors stormwater flow. Stormwater starts off clean. Stormwater flows DIRECTLY into our rivers, lakes and streams. It is almost never treated, so everything stormwater collects from the land surface, roadways, sidewalks, parking lots, construction sites, business parks, etc., is carried to gutters, storm drains, canals, and drainageways. It finally ends up in our local rivers and streams -- UNTREATED! Having a mechanism in place that filters stormwater such as a stormwater filter, silt bag, or other stormwater products or solutions is important to your stormwater control plan and protecting our water supply.
Impervious surfaces, such as buildings, homes, roads, sidewalks, and parking lots, can significantly alter the natural hydrology of the land by increasing the volume, velocity, and temperature of runoff and by decreasing its infiltration capacity. Increasing the volume and velocity of stormwater runoff can cause severe stream bank erosion and flooding, and degrade the biological habitat of these streams. Reducing infiltration can lower ground water levels and affect drinking water supplies. You need a strong stormwater control plan. Not understanding how to control the flow of stormwater on your project could have negative consequences, for the environment as well as your budget.
Under Section 309 of the CWA, penalties for violating the permit or not having a permit to discharge into the waters of the U.S. may be up to $27,500 per violation per day. Under Section 311, a Class I penalty may be assessed in an amount of up to $10,000 per violation, not to exceed $25,000; a Class II penalty may be assessed in an amount of up to $10,000 per day per violation, but not to exceed $125,000. (Source EPA)
To avoid fines, understand how to avoid contaminating water supplies. The erosion process typically is influenced by climate, topography, soils and vegetative cover. An effective Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP or SWP3) is the key! Your SWPPP should include:
- Who is on the stormwater pollution prevention or management team
- Who will install structural stormwater controls
- Who will supervise and implement good housekeeping programs, such as site cleanup and disposal of trash and debris, hazardous material management and disposal, vehicle and equipment maintenance, and so on
- Who will conduct routine inspections of the site to ensure all BMPs are being implemented and maintained
- Who will maintain the BMPs
- Who is responsible for documenting changes to the SWPPP
- Who is responsible for communicating changes in the SWPPP to people working on the site
Prepare a Facility Response Plan (FRP) and Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan. In some cases, simple interceptor and oil water separators can make all the difference in preventing fines and undue contamination of the environment.