Federal and State regulations prohibit pollutant discharges to bodies of water and require that local governments implement stormwater compliance programs that protect water quality. This is primarily enforced through a document known as a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).
What is a SWPPP?
Municipal, industrial and commercial facilities, including construction activities, military bases and shipping ports, that produce and need to dispose of wash water fall under the regulation of the Clean Water Act. Often times, that wash water comes in the form of contaminated stormwater that can potentially pollute water sources.
For an organization to gain approval to operate and to manage equipment and materials that could potentially contaminate stormwater, they must obtain a NPDES permit, and an important requirement of that type of permit is the development of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).
A properly constructed SWPPP accomplishes three things. First, it identifies any potential sources of pollution that could contaminate runoff from the regulated site. Second, the report should describe how those pollutants will be reduced or eliminated so that stormwater will be unaffected. Finally, a good report ensures that appropriate person at the site understand its environmental responsibilities and will work to meet the conditions of its NPDES permit.
Guide to Compliance
The requirements of a complete SWPPP are extensive and the official sample plans provided by your local regulatory branch should be consulted when developing your SWPPP. The following guidelines are meant to explain the SWPPP requirements that pertain to wash water and equipment cleaning. By following these guidelines, your company or organization will be better able to achieve compliance, and avoid EPA fines or stop work orders.
Identification of Potential Sources of Pollution
Preventing Pollution from Happening
- Install a wash water reuse and treatment system for washing vehicles
- Detail how equipment wash system should be operated
- Use a wheel wash system on all vehicles before they leave the worksite to prevent track-out on public roads
- List equipment and procedures that will be used to contain and clean up any toxic materials if a spill should occur
- Detail how to properly disposal of any and all wash water, sediments and solids
Training and Implementation
- Train employees in the requirements of the SWPPP by clearly delineating who is responsible for each aspect of plan.
- Test to determine if the preventative measures are working effective Record stormwater sampling data