Stormwater Compliance During Construction
Twelve Years In…
As I think back on the past twelve years of our efforts in developing “best in class” practices, policies and procedures to address stormwater compliance, I see many contrasts with the early days. With twelve years of experience under our belt, we’ve been witness to, and a driver of, improved best management practices (BMPs), procedures, methods and stormwater compliance across the board.
Awareness & Education
- When we began offering turnkey SWPPP services in 2002, the commercial construction industry’s understanding of their responsibilities under the then-new TCEQ Texas General Permit for stormwater discharge was certainly lacking. It was not unusual to hear the response from General Contractors, “We have to do what?”… And then, of course, came “Why?” It became crystal clear that education would need to be a cornerstone of our business. Since those early days, we continuously strive to lead the charge to inform engineers, contractors and property owners not only of the regulations, but also why and how compliance can ultimately pay off in the quest for cleaner public waterways. Our educational efforts extend from conducting accredited training classes through the Associated General Contractors (AGC), to industry seminars and symposiums, the International Erosion Control Association (IECA) and “Lunch & Learn” sessions for the contracting, engineering and development communities.
Best Management Practices (BMPs)
- One of our bylines has been “Question the way we’ve always done it.” Following that premise has resulted in the introduction and implementation of many new BMPs over the years. From inlet protection, to flow controls, dewatering and final stabilization, the quest for better ways to meet compliance never ends. The good news is that application of common sense (stormwater will go where it wants to…) combined with some “out of the box thinking”, can result in simple, cost effective solutions to compliance issues.
- The well-worn adage “Enforcement drives compliance” has certainly proven to be true. Enforcement, and associated penalties for non-compliance, has grown significantly over the years. Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System operators (MS4s) have not only expanded compliance requirements to augment the Texas General Permit, they have, in most cases, increased fines and penalties regularly.
The fundamental imperative that we continue to find new ways to improve water quality in general, is stronger than ever. As a practical matter, mitigating the effects of construction activity on that mission represents an opportunity for everyone in the industry. Water quality and water use continue to be a major challenge for us all. The good news is, the construction industry is in the unique position to be a positive force in water quality by continually renewing its commitment to compliance efforts on all projects.
Director, Business Development