Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans

Association of Construction and Development
April 8, 2013 — 1,971 views  

Storm water runoff from industrial sites is a major environmental concern. Storm water discharge is the primary cause of water quality deterioration in arid and semi-arid parts of the US. To restore the water quality in the country the Federal regulations require companies to prepare a detailed Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), and upon its clearance obtain an industrial storm water permit. The SWPPP lists the mechanical and non-mechanical controls that will reduce the negative impact in the event of an offsite storm water runoff. The aim of this plan is to minimize pollutants in the water resources and ensure environment-friendly business practices. 

SWPPP Permit Requirements

A SWPPP is essentially a guide to the sources, control, and reduction strategies of runoff. It also provides a pollutants discharge manual, enlisting the appropriate waste discharge methods. In a broader sense, SWPPP should describe the characteristics of the site, listing the pollutant discharge possibilities, and its impact on storm water runoff. Mentioned below are a few points that a SWPPP guideline contains.

  • A detailed plan of the different sections of the industry, like the manufacturing unit, storage area, processing area, etc. It should also include a detailed account of the type of work and the processes followed in the industry.
  • A map covering an extended area, of 1/4 of a mile, beyond the property walls, which is used to determine a suitable discharge location.
  • Runoff coefficient is the fraction of the total rainfall that will appear as runoff. The SWPPP needs this to include an estimate of the total runoff coefficient.
  • A list of any significant spills in 3 years prior to the sanction of the storm water permit.
  • A direction route of the storm water flow and the possible presence of toxic pollutants in the water flow.
  • Any other non-storm water outlets should be reported as well.

Best Business Management Practices (BMPs)

The SWPPP provides a list of the best business practices to be followed to prevent pollutant discharge in storm water. This differs depending on the specific site and its condition. Some of the remedies that can be followed are given below:

Sensitization: The first step is to sensitize the masses. Train the personnel who are working onsite. Well-informed employees can bring about a huge difference in the maintenance and management of the storm water discharge system.

Storage Facilities: Storage facilities should be covered so that rainwater discharge of toxic chemicals and hazardous waste can be reduced.

Maintenance: SWPPP identifies machineries that can leak or spill contaminants, and then provides regular checking and maintenance schedule for each machine. Site maintenance is an essential step which includes grading the land to ensure rain infiltration and quick clearance of storm water. 

Storm Water Management Manual

The storm water management manual was designed and released by Ecology in the year 2005. This was an updated version which mentions the storm water pollution prevention plan. Volume IV is a good reference for BMPs for pollution, erosion, and sediment control. It is highly recommended that industries keep the manual and revise their practices.

Periodic Review

It is not going to solve the problem if the plan is not followed strictly in the industries. Therefore periodic reviews are required to keep the plan afloat. The SWPPP should be included in employee trainings, and should be encouraged among the employees. Without the cooperation of all, it is hard to maintain quality in the practice.

Association of Construction and Development