This week instead of heading to Austin for the RESNET conference, I choose to head south to Montgomery to ABLE aka Alabama’s Better Living Expo. One of the reasons was to catch up on the updated Storm Water codes & regulations that apply here in Alabama (and the rest of the country). Like many EPA regulations, the states do have an option to take over the applicable programs in there state as long as they are at minimum as stringent as the EPA’s version. In this case this is being handled via the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM).
This is just for highway work & large developers, right?
While the Federal Storm Water Regulations used to only be tripped at 5 acres or more, as of April 1st, 2011 it is now tripped when 1 acre or more will be disturbed (this includes staging and parking areas if the ground is disturbed). For many custom home builders, especially those building in a forested area this could come as a nasty surprise.
Even if the project is less than 1 acre there are two other exceptions that can trip the requirements; namely if there is “reasonable potential” that the work may impact a watershed (river, lake, stream) or if the project is part of a larger one that would be larger than 1 acre. With that all said, even if one doesn’t require a permit, you are still required to handle the storm water, its runoff, and especially the sediment under control. (If the regulation doesn’t bother you, you might be wary of getting sued for Trespassing Nuisance)
QCI, QCP, BMP, & other TLA’s
Don’t you just love TLA’s (Three Letter Acronyms) or even worse those MLA’s? Well in order to even start to figure out what the EPA CWA & ADEM AWCPA means to you, it helps to know the code…
- ADEM – Alabama Department of Environmental Management aka the ones responsible for overseeing and managing the regulations
- AWCPA- Alabama Water Pollution Control Act (Applicable portion 335.6)
- BMP –Best Management Practices aka everything required to manage the erosion, sediment, and storm water runoff.
- CWA – Clean Water Act
- EPA – US Environmental Protection Agency aka the agency responsible for the CWA and will check over ADEM’s shoulder to make sure they are complying with the regulations aka yes the EPA may still show up on your site
- QCI – Qualified Credentialed Inspector aka a person responsible for daily observations of BMP’s, Monthly Inspections & recording rainfall
- QCP – Qualified Certified Professional aka an Alabama Certified Engineer or CPESC that comes up with the CBMPP and is responsible for the 6 month inspections.
Some Quick Notes:
- Within 72 hours of receiving ¾” of rain in a 24 hour period a QCI must perform an inspection.
- Within 24 hours if one experiences a significant rain event must perform an inspection (Depending on your location, it is between 4 to 6” of rain in 24 hours which is what the CBMPP is designed for)
- For linear projects (like highway or utility projects) one has to conduct an inspection within 48 hours of a triggering event.
- Seed Charts for reseeding is not the actual amount that must be installed. For example many seeds require 40# of “PLS or Pure Live Seed” so you must multiply the pure seed in the package by the germination percentage & divide the pounds required by that number. (i.e. 85 seed / 15 filler times a germination rate of 72% gives one 61% of PLS — 40/.61 = 65# of seed required by acre)
- Records must be maintained for at least 3 years after the project is completed & terminated
- Prevention is always cheaper & better than trying to manage the symptoms (i.e. runoff, sediment & turbidity).
- ALDOT projects require weekly inspections, not monthly
- Permanent Final Stabilization work must begin immediately once the final grading has been completed, while if an area will not be worked on for a period of 13 days or more one is required to perform temporary stabilization work.
- If you have a Non-compliance event, you need to notify ADEM verbally within 24 hours (preferably after contacting the QCP) & the QCP has 5 days after that to submit a written report. You do not want to get caught not letting them know that an issue has happened.