What is an SWPPP Inspection Form?
An SWPP (Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan) inspection form is a document used to evaluate a construction site’s effect on stormwater runoff. This is a necessary legal document submitted before obtaining construction permits and stormwater permits.
Stormwater runoff can carry a lot of sediments and waste coming from a construction site. When left unmanaged, the carried debris can clog sewer lines and disrupt the natural chemistry of nearby bodies of water.
To ensure proper management of stormwater runoff is done, stormwater inspection forms have been created. And although the documents from different countries may look different, they have many similar requirements and best maintenance practices (BMPs).
In this article, the following points are explained:
6 Key Consideration Points in the SWPPP Inspection Form for Site Evaluation
The first phase when creating a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan is site evaluation. This involves identifying critical information like contact persons, soil properties, bodies of water, and local policies. The information below is referenced from the EPA SWPPP inspection form.
1. Key Persons
Since the purpose of an SWPPP is compliance, assigning key persons responsible for meeting legal requirements is an essential first step since this will ensure accountability. Thus, this needs to be decided upon and documented before any construction takes place.
For example, here are some legal requirements that may need a person in charge:
- Stormwater Permits
- Dredge and Fill Wetlands Permits
- Oil Spill Prevention
- Solid Waste Requirements
- Air Quality Requirements
- Asbestos and PCB Requirements
- Other Local Requirements
2. Soil, Slope, and Vegetation
Stormwater runoffs are greatly affected by the soil, slope, and vegetation on the construction site. So, it’s essential to take careful note of these factors when doing a site evaluation.
The stormwater inspection forms accurately describe the soil type, slopes, drainage patterns, and other topographical features of the construction site. It would also be beneficial to check if any previously made changes were made to the site, such as landfills and land reclamations. Doing so will significantly help when creating a best maintenance practice after evaluation.
3. Receiving Body of Waters
Stormwater runoffs always end up on nearby bodies of water, whether through direct flow or indirect channels like storm drains. Either way, sediments, and other substances carried off by the runoff affect the parameters of bodies of water. For example, runoffs with a large number of sediments can affect turbidity.
That is why on the SWPPP inspection form, it is required to list off all the nearby bodies of water and their tributary feeds and all the storm sewer systems nearby. Doing so will help assess what pollutants to prevent and avoid exceeding the daily loads these systems can handle.
4. Potential Sources of Pollution
When the construction takes place, the primary pollutant is sediment. And it can come from operations like excavation, demolition, drilling, and landscaping.
But there are other sources of pollution in the construction sites. Some of which are heavy metals, oil, grease, pesticides, herbicides, and other harmful chemicals like asbestos and PCB. Carefully studying which of these pollutants will be present during construction will significantly help create a mitigation plan.
5. Endangered Species and Historic Sites
On several occasions, a construction site might unknowingly infringe upon a habitat of an endangered species or a historical place. And this violation can be quite costly, especially in stricter countries or states. That is why it is necessary to assign a pivotal person to check for other legal requirements before construction.
If the planned construction site falls upon this issue, it is required to contact the respective agencies in charge of this and work with them to create a detailed plan to preserve these habitats and sites.
6. Other Local Regulations and Programs
There might also be local requirements depending on the state or region of the planned construction site. So, it is best to work with the local officials when creating an SWPPP closely.
Best management practices to include in an SWPPP Inspection Form
After the site evaluation, the next step in the stormwater inspection forms is creating BMPs or Best Management Practices. BMPs are written plans on how to address the possible issues found during the evaluation.
Below are some of the BMPs that are referenced from the EPA SWPPP Inspection Form.
1. Erosion and Sediment Control BMPs
Erosion and sediment control are BMPs (Best Management Practices) aiming to control the main pollutant during construction: sediments. And this is done by either keeping sediments in place and capturing sediments from stormwater before it leaves the site.
To effectively control erosion, there are five procedures that can be done. These are:
- Minimizing disturbed areas and protection of natural features and soil.
- Phasing of construction activities.
- Controlling the stormwater that enters and exits the construction site.
- Stabilizing of soil through temporary or permanent covers.
- Slope protection.
To effectively control sediments, there are also five procedures that can be done. These are:
- Protection of storm drains.
- Establishing perimeter controls.
- Retaining sediments and control dewatering.
- Establishing a stabilized construction exit.
- Inspection and maintenance of controls.
2. Good Housekeeping BMPs
Aside from sediments, the next major pollutant is construction-related waste or trash that can pollute the stormwater. And these wastes can be addressed by using effective and systematic housekeeping practices.
In the EPA SWPPP Inspection Guide, there are six principles that can be applied to create effective housekeeping practices. These are:
- Design and implement proper waste management procedures.
- Establish appropriate staging areas for construction materials.
- Designate suitable washout areas for paints and concrete.
- Establish proper fueling and maintenance procedures for equipment and vehicles.
- Control washing of equipment and vehicles and allowable non-stormwater discharges.
- Developing a spill prevention and response plan.
These are only some of the procedures and principles that can be implemented as BMPs. Many techniques can be done and implemented depending on the circumstances of the construction sites. To make your work easier, we have already created a form example for you. Download the SWPPP Inspection Form Template here.
How you implement and monitor BPMs with a digital solution
SWPPP inspections, or stormwater inspections, are important testing procedures that directly impact an organization’s environmental management. Typically, such inspections are conducted and documented using pen and paper. However, the digitization of forms offers inspectors several advantages that make stormwater procedures and compliance easier. So, paper inspection reports are prone to loss, damage, and unauthorized access. Digital reports, on the other hand, are automatically stored in the cloud and can only be viewed by authorized personnel.
A digital solution like Lumiform allows companies to integrate the benefits of smart forms technology into their processes. The app and desktop software enables site managers, local governments, and outside stormwater inspectors to implement stormwater best management practices and streamline bureaucratic tasks such as data entry and documentation. This practice provides them with many other benefits beyond simply transforming from paper to digital:
- Various, ready-to-use templates from Lumiform Library facilitate data entry for each specific site and use case.
- The digital templates can be easily customized with the form builder via drag-and-drop for added efficiency.
- Capture results from stormwater inspections on the go via smartphone or tablet – also possible offline.
- Easily assign tasks and corrective actions to responsible staff via the app so problems are identified sooner. Use the dashboard to simultaneously monitor which tasks have been assigned and completed and which are overdue.
- Automatically generate and share comprehensive SWPPP inspection reports to improve visibility into data.
- Automatically upload SWPPP inspection data via secure cloud storage to ensure no information is lost or accessible to unauthorized parties.
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