The Clean Water Act & Construction Activity
In 1972, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, also referred to as the Clean Water Act (CWA), was amended to provide that the discharge of any pollutant to waters of the United States from any point source is unlawful without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Congress added section 402 (p) to the CWA in 1987 to establish a comprehensive framework for addressing storm water discharges associated with industrial activity. Construction activities that disturb at least five acres of land are defined in 40 CFR 122.26(b) (14) (x) as an “industrial activity.” Phase II, enacted in 1999, addresses additional sources, including small construction activity disturbing 1 acre or more. For a copy of the Generic permit for Construction Activities that Disturb one acre or more, visit the FDEP web site.
FDEP requires that all construction activity disturbing one acre or more of land is to file a Notice of Intent (NOI) for construction activity and prepare a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).
- For the NOI form for Construction Activities that Disturb one acre or more please visit the FDEP site.
- Download the NPDES Construction Activity Page.
- Download the Storm Water Phase II Final Rule – Small Construction Program Overview.
Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan
The Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) is a basic statement of how the site should be managed to prevent or significantly reduce discharge of pollutants from the site during construction activity. No solid materials, including building materials, shall be discharged to waters of the United States and/or the state of Florida. St. Johns County requires the preparation and certification of the SWPPP by a Professional Engineer. The SWPPP should be modified as needed and contain the signatures of all contractors and sub-contractors attesting to their having read and willingness to abide by its directives. The SWPPP should contain as a minimum the following elements:
Each plan shall provide a description of pollutant sources and other information as indicated:
(1) a description of the nature of the construction activity.
(2) a description of the intended sequence of major activities which disturb soils for major portions of the site (e.g. grubbing, excavation, grading).
As a result of the assessment, the plan shall include:
(1) Estimates of the total area of the site and the total area of the site that is expected to be disturbed by excavation, grading, or other activities.
(2) An estimate of the runoff coefficient of the site before, during, and after construction activities.
(3) A site map indicating drainage patterns and approximate slopes anticipated after major grading activities, area of soil disturbance, an outline of areas which may not be disturbed, the location of major structural and nonstructural controls identified in the plan.
Erosion and Sediment Controls
(1) Each plan shall include a description of appropriate controls and measures that will be implemented at the construction site.
(2) And the timing during the construction process that the measures will be implemented.
(1) Off-site vehicle tracking of sediments and the generation of dust shall be minimized.
(2) The plan shall ensure and demonstrate compliance with applicable State and/or local waste disposal, sanitary sewer or septic system regulations.
(3) The plan shall address the proper application rates and methods for the use of fertilizers and pesticides at the construction site.
(4) The plan shall ensure that the application, generation, and migration of toxic substances is limited and that toxic materials are properly stored and disposed.
(1) A description of procedures to ensure the timely maintenance of vegetation, erosion and sediment control measures and other protective measures identified in the site plan in good and effective operating conditions.
(2) Storm water pollution prevention plans must be amended to reflect any change applicable to protecting surface water resources in sediment and erosion management site plans or site permits.
All contractors and subcontractors identified in a storm water pollution prevention plan shall sign a copy of the following certification statement before conducting any professional service identified in the storm water pollution prevention plan:
“I certify under penalty of law that I understand the terms and conditions of the general National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit that authorizes the storm water discharges associated with industrial activity from the construction site identified as part of this certification.”
The certification must include the name and title of the person providing the signature, the name, address and telephone number of the contracting firm; the address (or other identifying description ) of the site; and the date the certification is made.
(1) Qualified personnel (provided by the discharger) shall inspect all points of discharge into waters of the United States or to a municipal separate storm sewer system and all disturbed areas of the construction site that have not been finally stabilized, areas used for storage of materials that are exposed to precipitation, structural control measures, and locations where vehicles enter or exit the site at least once every seven calendar days and within 24 hours of the end of a storm that is 0.25 inches or greater. Where sites have been finally stabilized; such inspection shall be conducted at least once every month.
(2) A report summarizing the scope of the inspection, name(s) and qualifications of personnel making the inspection, the date(s) of the inspection, major observations relating to the implementation of the storm water pollution prevention plan, and corrective actions taken.
The permittee shall retain a copy of the SWPPP required by this permit on site from the date of project initiation to the date of final stabilization. All controls shall be consistent with the requirements set forth in the State Water Policy of Florida (Chapter 62-40, Florida Administrative Code), the applicable storm water or environmental resource permitting requirements of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) or the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), and the guidelines contained in the Florida Development Manual: A Guide to Sound Land and Water Management (FDEP, 1988) and any subsequent amendments.
SWPPP Preparation Guides
- The FDEP provides a guide to assist in the preparation of a SWPPP.
- The US EPA also provides a SWPPP preparation guide.
Completing a Project
Upon completion of the project for which the initial contractor is responsible, a NOT or Notice of Termination should be filed with the FDEP. This NOT should be accompanied by a Notice of Intent (NOI) from the new contractor. This will release the first contractor and provide proper notice to FDEP for the second contractor.