Surely you’re familiar with (and received your own) stormwater permits for your construction firm. But what exactly is a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) and why do you need one?
An SWPPP is an essential component of your stormwater permit. The SWPPP gives instructions on how you intend to handle stormwater pollution and keep it at a minimum.
RMAgreen.com says it best, “Think of it as your guidebook of practices that you will use at your location or project to make sure that the stormwater discharged off your location is as clean and unpolluted as possible.”
This guidebook is often made up of what’s called “Best Management Practices”. While there is a specific set of standards to follow, they won’t all work for every facility or project site. That’s why you must compile your own best practices that make sense for your location or job site.
You’re probably still wondering what an SWPPP actually looks like and how you would go about making yours. Here are some tips.
Proper format of your Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan
In most cases, an SWPPP isn’t anything fancy. It’s often Best Management Practices written in a notebook along with site plans that detail how you plan on ensuring stormwater is discharged properly from your jobsite(s).
Don’t let the lackluster look fool you, this plan does require some work to put together and it is important. You really need to think about the different types of pollution you may see on a construction site, where they may occur, and who oversees the plan. Let’s look at these three elements in greater detail.
Writing your Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan
There are three key things you’ll want to consider to get started writing your stormwater plan.
- Pollution locations: Think about what your potential sources of pollution would be. What do you have on a job site that could be carried away by stormwater? How much dust do you typically see during a job? What material stockpiles are at risk of getting rained on and drifted away? These are the types of questions you can expect to put in your plan so you should start thinking of possible pollution locations at each of your project locations.
- Types of pollution: It’s not just where these incidents may occur, but with what. Think about what kinds of materials could be impacted by stormwater: loose soil, various construction debris and materials, sediment, chemicals, etc. All of these items can be washed away by stormwater and sent into a nearby sewer that eventually makes its way into bodies of water. Keeping both the location and the types of pollution in mind will help when crafting your plan.
- Responsible parties: One last thing to note. Your plan will also need to include who will be involved in the stormwater program. As you likely already know, stormwater training is a required component for most permits. You’ll need to list when, how, and where the responsible parties will be getting this training. Here’s a tip – you can get in trouble if you don’t do the training, so don’t forget this part!
These seem like fairly easy steps to follow when writing your stormwater pollution prevention plan, but if you are ever in doubt, look to your permit. Because permits differ from state to state, you may be required to include additional information and your specific permit will list everything you’ll need. Our list is only meant to guide you and give you a starting point.