Environmental Law Newsletter
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
- Uncontrolled Hazardous Waste Sites and the EPA Superfund Program In an effort to address the threat posed by the tens of thousands of abandoned and uncontrolled hazardous waste sites in the United States, Congress enacted the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA...
- Conservation Easements as a Means to Regulating Private Land The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, in part, that private property shall not be "taken for public use, without just compensation." In order to take property, the government must first condemn it through "eminent domain" p...
- Construction Operators May Need to Implement a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Stormwater Program regulates construction activities that disturb one acre or more of land. Such activities include those that have a tendency to expose soil, including, for example, cl...
- Tax Treatment of Contaminated Property The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) imposes liability for the investigation and cleanup of contaminated real property without regard to whether the landowner created or allowed the original c...
- Reducing Estate Taxes Through a Qualified Conservation Easement Congress has been known to use tax "breaks" to encourage favored activities. America's vanishing wilderness and forests have long been of concern and, not surprisingly, tax breaks are given to landowners of some forestlands who dedicate land...
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Construction Operators May Need to Implement a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Stormwater Program regulates construction activities that disturb one acre or more of land. Such activities include those that have a tendency to expose soil, including, for example, clearing, excavation and grading activities. Pursuant to the program, construction operators may be required to obtain an NPDES permit from either an authorized state environmental agency or from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
If the EPA has not authorized a state to issue NPDES storm water permits, permit coverage must be obtained from the EPA itself. In most locations where the EPA is the permitting authority, the operator of the construction site must obtain the EPA's Construction General Permit (CGP). The CGP dictates general procedures that must be performed in order to comply with the NPDES Stormwater Program in areas where the EPA is the permitting authority.
Development of a SWPPP
The preparation of a storm water pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) is an integral requirement of the CGP. At least one SWPPP must be developed for each construction project covered by the CGP. Further, each SWPPP must be prepared in accordance with good engineering practices.
A SWPPP generally consists of detailed plans outlining how sediment and erosion controls and other best management practices (BMPs) will be implemented on a construction site. According to the language of the CGP, the SWPPP must perform all of the following functions:
Identify all potential sources of pollution which might affect the quality of storm water discharges from the construction site
Describe procedures that will be employed to reduce pollutants in storm water discharges from the construction site
Assure compliance with the terms and conditions of the CPG
To ensure that the SWPPP is designed in accordance with site-specific characteristics, the EPA structured the CGP requirements in such a manner as to grant the construction operator maximum flexibility when designing the SWPPP's storm water controls. The EPA provides additional guidance by suggesting that the following factors may be considered when designing a SWPPP:
Types of soil found on the construction site
Sloping of the land
Precipitation patterns based on the time of year and the location of the construction site
Nearby bodies of water and respective sensitivity to the discharge of pollutants
Architectural landscape and orientation of buildings
Size of construction site
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