Sunday, April 19, 2015


The California State Water Resources Control Board regulates the discharge of storm water associated with construction activities. The Construction General Permit requires the development of a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). The purpose of the program is to limit erosion and sediment discharge, which could have ecological effects downstream.
Preparing for pH and turbidity measurement
Dischargers implement Best Management Practices (BMP) such as fiber rolls, gravel bags, and synthetic membranes to limit erosion and filter runoff.  Part of my duties at Shimmick Construction is to monitor storm water discharge from our job site. When it rains, I collect and test representative samples for pH (acidity) and turbidity (suspended solids).

I upload results from the portable meters to the State’s online tracking system. Exceedance of the legal limits indicates corrective action is necessary. Inspection of a problem area usually reveals the need for additional BMP.

Rain events by themselves reduce productivity on a construction site. An EPA fine of $75,000 per day per violation would make it that much worse. SWPPP implementation is a small but important part of the project.