Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control

SKU: C-930Duration: 21 Minutes

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Language:  English

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Course Details


Training Time: 21 minutes

Compatibility: Desktop, Tablet, Phone

Based on: 40 CFR 450 (2009): Construction and Development Effluent Guidelines and Standards

Languages: English

Construction site activities often disturb or expose soil, which can increase erosion and cause sediment to be picked up and carried off by stormwater runoff. If not controlled, this sediment and other pollutants at construction sites can be carried away and deposited in nearby wetlands, waterways, and fragile habitats. This can harm aquatic plants, fish, and wildlife, and degrade water quality for municipal, industrial, and recreational uses. In the U.S., operators of large construction sites are often required to obtain stormwater discharge permits from the EPA, the state, or local authorities. To begin this process, you must create and implement a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP).

Learning Objectives

  • Define the terms "construction site," "stormwater runoff," and "erosion"
  • List and describe the possible impacts of common construction site pollutants on nearby wetlands, waterways, and fragile habitats
  • List the site characteristics that must be evaluated and described in stormwater pollution prevention plans (SWPPPs)
  • Describe how erosion control and sediment control best management practices (BMPs) work
  • Distinguish between structural and non-structural BMPs
  • List some key housekeeping BMPs for construction sites
  • List the order in which documents, plans, and permits are created before, during, and after a large construction project

Key Questions

The following key questions are answered in this module:

Besides sediment, what other pollutants can construction sites introduce to stormwater runoff?
They can introduce heavy metals, greases, fuels, pesticides, adhesives, solvents, nutrients like nitrogen, and solid waste such as lumber and paper.

Who is responsible for obtaining the stormwater discharge permit for a site?
Any person or organization who has control of the construction plans or activities that are necessary to satisfy permit requirements; there may be more than one for a site.

What are best management practices (BMPs) for erosion and sediment control?
These include devices, programs, methods, and activities that are used to control, prevent, or reduce erosion and the discharge of sediment and other pollutants with stormwater runoff.

How do construction site exits and entrances figure into sediment control?
Vehicles exiting from construction sites can track significant amounts of sediment onto streets. Vehicle wash down equipment, stabilized entrance/exit surfaces, and regular street cleaning can help control this sediment source.

Why is it especially important for concrete mixer trucks to use containment for washouts?
The washout water from concrete mixer trucks contains toxic heavy metals, which requires washout areas to have appropriate containment.

Sample Video Transcript

Below is a transcript of the video sample provided for this module:

Storm water runoff is water that comes from precipitation, rain or snow belt, that flows over ground surfaces instead of soaking into the ground. As it flows, storm water runoff picks up sediment, oils, chemicals, debris, and other pollutants and carries them away. The contaminated storm water runoff can then be deposited in nearby wetlands, creeks, rivers, and other waterways either directly or via a municipal storm water system. Storm water runoff occurs everywhere. In forests, on farmland, in parking lots, etc. But the amount and type of debris and pollutants it picks up differ from place to place. The volume, velocity, and temperature of the storm water runoff and the ability of the ground to absorb it also vary from place to place.

Additional Resources

Use the additional resources and links below to learn more about this topic:

  • US Environmental Protection Agency –
  • Construction Activities -
  • EPA Publications -
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