NWA Pre-Construction Stormwater Education Program
In Northwest Arkansas, local municipal construction stormwater inspectors have been frustrated with stormwater regulation non-compliance and repeated conversations about violations with improper sediment and erosion control BMP selection, installation and maintenance. In response, Extension collaborated with representatives from the NWA Stormwater Compliance Group to develop a construction stormwater education program for contractors, developers, and persons responsible for inspecting and maintaining stormwater controls on a construction site.
Since every construction project must meet with municipal, county or University engineering and planning staff in person before ground is broken in a “pre-construction” meeting, it presents an opportunity stormwater management and BMP expectations are clearly defined before a project begins. A localized video emphasizing permit expectations and common BMP installation and maintenance issues is used in conjunction with a commercially-produced video on construction site regulations and BMPs, a quiz and a resource sheet.
Ground Control - Stormwater Pollution Prevention from Construction Sites (ExCal Visual's website)
Stormwater runoff from construction activities can have a significant impact on water quality. As stormwater flows across a construction site, it can pick up pollutants like sediment, debris, and chemicals and transport these to a nearby storm sewer system or directly to a creek, stream or lake. Polluted stormwater runoff can harm or kill fish and other wildlife. Sedimentation can destroy aquatic habitat and high volumes of runoff can cause stream bank erosion. Construction debris can clog waterways and potentially reach the ocean where it can kill marine wildlife and impact habitat. Construction vehicles can leak fuel, oil, and other harmful fluids that can be picked up by stormwater and deposited into local waterways.
The federal stormwater management program requires that construction activities that include clearing, grading, and excavating which disturb 1 acre or more (including smaller sites in a larger common plan of development or sale) have to be permitted their stormwater discharges
Construction Stormwater Management Practices
Erosion and sediment control at small construction sites is best accomplished with proper planning, installation, and maintenance of controls. The following Best Management Practices (BMPs) have shown to be efficient, cost effective, and versatile for small construction site operators to implement. The practices are divided into two categories: non-structural and structural
Most erosion and sediment controls require regular maintenance to work effectively. Accumulated sediments should be removed frequently and materials should be checked periodically for wear. Regular inspections by qualified personnel, which can allow problem areas to be addressed, should be performed after major rain events.
Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities (EPA website)