In today's environmentally conscious atmosphere, before you begin any construction project you must be aware of regulations and guidelines.
One area of focus is stormwater pollution. This becomes an important environmental concern as soon as the first shovel full of dirt is displaced.
Most areas in the United States now require a stormwater compliance permit before any building or development project can begin. Before starting any type of construction, you need to understand what stormwater pollution is and appreciate how it can have an extremely detrimental effect on the immediate environment.
Where Does Stormwater Pollution Come From?
Stormwater includes all rainfall and melting snow or ice. This water falls on the ground, pours off rooftops, and streams across parking lots and roadways. Stormwater pollution is caused by rainfall and snowmelt that picks up toxic chemicals such as oil and grease, off roads, roofs, parking lots and construction sites.
Some stormwater is absorbed into the ground. However, the problem isn't with the water itself. The pollution is caused by what stormwater picks up and carries with it, as it flows to a final destination. Groundwater contamination happens when the water bleeds through soil that has been treated with pesticides and fertilizers.
However, the biggest creators of stormwater pollution are rooftops, parking lots, and especially open construction sites. These surfaces inherently have oil-based pollutants that are washed away in the stormwater causing waterways and groundwater to become polluted.
When Does Stormwater Become a Pollution Problem?
Environmental problems begin when construction projects do not address how the stormwater runoff is contained. When the water is permitted to flow down storm drains and eventually into streams and other waterways, this is the point when the issue becomes a pollution problem.
When stormwater picks up pollutants such as trash, oils and toxic chemicals, it poses a serious environmental dilemma. This contaminated runoff filters into groundwater, rivers, lakes and streams. It is harmful to humans, plants and wildlife.
This is why local, state and the federal governments have made this a priority focus for all new construction and most major restorations. The problem is of such an imminent concern the EPA governs stormwater discharge on a nationwide level under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).
How Do You Meet Stormwater Compliance?
New guidelines and regulations have been written to prevent the contamination of our precious streams, rivers and lakes, including groundwater supplies. There are stiff penalties assessed to anyone who does not meet with compliance regulations.
If you're considering any type of construction project, from a residential home to a large industrial building, you must address the issue of stormwater runoff. The EPA provides various resources to support your efforts to tackle stormwater pollution, but understanding the intricate details takes years of education and experience.
To help guarantee that you meet all compliance regulations you need to have a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). With a sound SWPPP, your project schedule won't be slowed or completely halted. Beyond meeting compliance regulations, you'll be doing your part to lessen the impact of stormwater pollution.
An environmental safety and energy consultant can guarantee that your project will meet all aspects of stormwater regulations. Companies such as Alpha EMC provide professional experts nationwide who will make sure every step in your stormwater management strategy adheres to all regulations.
With a better understanding of what stormwater runoff is and an appreciation of how it affects water supplies, you can see why it is an important environmental concern. By utilizing the services of a professional consultant, you will meet all compliance regulations. Your efforts will help reduce the amount of stormwater pollution that is contaminating our precious waterways.