Storm Water Pollution Prevention
Storm water is water from precipitation that flows across the ground and pavement when it rains or when snow and ice melt. The water seeps into the ground or drains into what we call storm sewers. These are the drains you see at street corners or at low points on the sides of your streets. Collectively, the draining water is called storm water runoff and is a concern to us in commercial and industrial sites as well as your neighborhood because of the pollutants it carries.
Storm Water Pollution Prevention (SWPPP) Information
What are common contributors to storm water pollution?
When it rains, oil, antifreeze, detergents, pesticides and other pollutants get washed from driveways, backyards, parking lots, and streets into storm drains and then directly to the oceans untreated! The following items specify everyday pollutants occurring at our homes, businesses, and construction sites:
Pet waste left on the ground gets carried away by storm water, contributing harmful bacteria, parasites and viruses to our river. Please clean up after your pet.
Vehicle fluids such as oil, gas, and antifreeze are the #1 surface water quality problems nationwide. Recycle used oil in a clean, sealed, plastic container. Call Environmental Health for a list of collection sites that accept used oil or for answers to questions regarding proper disposal of other chemicals.
SWEEP! Hosing off pavements washes pollutants into storm drains leading straight to the river. If water enters a public street or storm drain you are violating City Ordinance and could have a fee added to your water bill.
Deliver old paint, pesticides, solvents and batteries to any of the available hazardous waste drop off facilities.
Street litter such as styrofoam, plastic, and paper can be prevented from blowing into inlets by keeping trash bins covered and by not littering. Remember, Albuquerque can be very windy!
Yard waste such as grass clippings, tree trimmings, and leaves can be composted and used for fertilizer around the yard.
At industrial sites, chemical spills that contain toxic substances, smoke stacks that spew emissions and uncovered or unprotected outdoor storage or waste areas can contribute pollutants to storm water runoff. Best management practices include:
Washing vehicles or equipment in wash bays hooked up to the sanitary sewer. Don’t wash off detergents, oils, and greases into streets or storm drains.
Divert rainfall runoff from fueling islands by building a canopy or cover over them.
In compliance with Fire Code, any barrels containing potentially hazardous liquids should be in a sealed container, stored inside a building or under cover, and propped up on pallets with secondary containment in case of a spill. Call the Fire Department for code specifics.
Waste and processed water of any type must be discharged to the sanitary sewer. Discharge of wastewater to the ground or storm drains is prohibited.
SWEEP ! Hosing off pavements washed pollutants into storm drains leading straight to the river. If water enters a public street or storm drain you are violating City Ordinance and could have a fee added to your water bill.
Be sure to know spill cleanup procedures. Have cleanup materials nearby with a spill prevention plan prepared and procedures known by all employees.
Waste from chemicals and materials used in construction can wash into arroyos leading to our river during rainy weather. Soil that erodes from construction sites can contribute to environmental degradation. Listed below are other harmful contributors from the construction site.
Sediments and other debris clog fish gills, damage fish habitat and block the light needed for the plants to survive.
Wash waters from concrete mixers should be disposed of back at the contractors site or a large hole, big enough to contain all the wash waters. Never rinse out concrete truck chutes with a hose and allow to run down the street gutter into the storm drains.
Waste storage for used oils, solvents and other hazardous fluids must be under cover with secondary containment in case of a spill and to prevent rainfall from contact which would wash hazardous fluids into nearby waterways.
Landscaping and earthmoving pollutants include planting, excavation, tilling, masonry and concrete, solid wastes such as trees and shrubs, soil additives and revegetation of graded areas, all contribute to soil erosion. Silt fences to hold back loose soil and sand when it gets windy allows sand and soils to stay out of street gutters where rainwater can wash it into storm drains.
Vehicle and equipment maintenance becomes a significant factor when engine repairs or preventive maintenance such as changing oil and other fluids occurs at the construction site. Maintain a “dry site” by using off site facilities, performing work in designated areas only, providing cover for materials stored outside, containing and cleaning up spills immediately, and training employees and subcontractors.
What is a storm water pollution prevention plan (SWPPP)?
This guide provides background information on the required pollution prevention planning requirements for facilities with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permits. A storm water pollution prevention plan is a documented step-by-step process for ensuring that pollutants from your industrial activities are not making their way into the storm water discharges from your site. Specifically, the pollution prevention plan requires that you select and implement best management practices (BMPs). BMPs include schedules of activities, prohibitions of practices, maintenance procedures, and other management practices to prevent or reduce the pollution in storm water runoff from your site.
Do I need to develop a storm water pollution prevention plan?
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System has a permit program established to control the discharge of storm water and/or industrial discharges that could adversely affect the quality of waters of the United States. Transportation industries that require a General Permit under Phase I of the NPDES program are required to develop and implement a storm water pollution prevention plan (SWPPP).
How Do I develop a storm water pollution prevention plan?
The five major phases of developing a SWPPP are (1) planning and organization; (2) assessment; (3) BMP selection and plan design; (4) implementation; and (5) evaluation and site inspection.
(1) Planning and Organization Phase
Before you start putting your SWPPP together, there are two steps that will facilitate the development of your plan. These steps are designed to help you organize your staff and make preliminary decisions: (A) decide who will be responsible for developing and implementing your SWPPP, and (B) look at other environmental plans at your facility that may overlap with the SWPPP for consistency.
(2) Assessment Phase
After identifying who is responsible for developing and implementing your plan and organizing your planning process, you should proceed to this next step – a pollutant source assessment. This is where you take a look at your facility and determine what materials or practices are (or may be) a source of contaminants to the storm water running off your site. To complete this phase, you will:
Create a map of the facility site to locate pollutant sources and determine storm water management opportunities
Conduct a material inventory
Evaluate past spills and leaks
Identify non-storm water discharges and illicit connections
Collect or evaluate storm water quality data
Summarize the findings of this assessment.
To select the most appropriate and effective control measures, consider that potential pollutant sources include areas where materials are handled or stored, outdoor processing areas, loading and unloading areas, and onsite waste management and disposal areas.
(3) BMP Selection and Plan Design Phase
Once you have identified and assessed potential and existing sources of storm water contamination at your facility, the next step is to select the proper BMPs that will address these pollutant sources. To satisfy the requirements of this phase, you must provide a narrative description of the BMPs you have selected for your site. At a minimum, your plan must incorporate the following eight “baseline” BMPs:
Management of runoff
Sediment and erosion control
Spill prevention and response
Record keeping and reporting.
(4) Implementation Phase
At this point, you have designed your SWPPP and the plan has been approved by facility management. Under the implementation phase, you must (A) implement the selected storm water BMPs, and (B) train all employees to carry out the goals of the plan. Some states require the plan be submitted to the state agency for review or storage.
(5) Evaluation and Site Inspection Phase
Now that your SWPPP has been put into action, you must keep it up-to-date by regularly evaluating the information you collected in the Assessment Phase and the controls that you selected in the BMP Selection and Plan Design Phase. Specifically, you must (1) conduct site evaluations, (2) keep records of all inspections and reports, and (3) revise the plan as needed.