Are you involved in construction projects? Are you an owner, developer, contractor, subcontractor, architect, construction manager, or design engineer? If so, this guide is for you, to help prevent pollution at the construction site. Many construction companies are adopting Best Management Practices (BMPs) as an important part of their pollution prevention program to help them protect water sources, minimize fugitive dust, manage wastes, and control erosion.
Pollution Prevention (P2) is about reducing the amount of any hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant released into the environment in order to reduce the hazards to public health and the environment. Pollution Prevention is also about preserving resources through wise use.
The following BMPs will need to be judged on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the conditions, operations, and limitations of each construction site. The best time to begin identifying BMPs is before a project begins. Many of the following BMPs can help you comply with regulations that are required by law.
Top Ten BMPs for Construction Sites
1. Preservation of Existing Vegetation
- Minimize clearing and the amount of exposed soil.
- Identify and protect areas where existing vegetation, such as trees, will not be disturbed by construction activity.
- Protect streams, stream barriers, wild wood lands, wetlands, or other sensitive areas from any disturbance or construction activity by fencing or otherwise clearly marking these areas.
2. Construction Phasing
- Sequence construction activities so that the soil is not exposed for long periods of time.
- Schedule or limit grading to small areas.
- Install key sediment control practices before site grading begins.
- Schedule site stabilization activities, such as landscaping, to be completed immediately after the land has been graded to its final contour.
3. Construction Entrances
- Remove mud and dirt from the tires of construction vehicles before they enter a paved roadway.
- Make sure that the construction entrance does not become buried in soil.
- Properly site entrance BMPs for all anticipated vehicles.
4. Silt Fencing
- Inspect and maintain silt fences after each storm.
- Make sure the bottom of the silt fence is buried.
- Securely attach the material to the stakes.
- Don’t place silt fences in the middle of a waterway or use them as a check dam.
- Stormwater should not flow around the silt fence.
5. Storm Drain Inlet Protection
- Use rock or other appropriate material to cover the storm drain inlet to filter out trash and debris.
- Make sure the rock size is appropriate (usually 1 to 2 inches in diameter).
- If you use inlet filters, maintain them regularly.
6. Vegetative Buffers
- Protect and install vegetative buffers along water bodies to slow and filter stormwater run-off.
- Maintain buffers by mowing or replanting periodically to ensure their effectiveness.
7. Site Stabilization
- Vegetate, mulch, or otherwise stabilize all exposed areas as soon as land alterations have been completed.
8. Equipment Fueling and Containment
- Use offsite fueling stations as much as possible, or dedicated fueling areas onsite.
- Discourage “topping-off” of fuel tanks.
- Dedicated fueling areas should be level, protected from stormwater, and located at least 50 ft from downstream drainage facilities and watercourses.
- Protect fueling areas with berms and dikes to prevent run-on, run-off, and to contain spills.
- Use vapor recovery nozzles with automatic shutoffs to control drips as well as air pollution.
9. Waste Management
- Choose smaller, covered containers and more frequent collection.
- Do not allow waste to accumulate on-site.
- Separate recyclable materials from waste and keep covered.
- Conduct visual inspections of dumpsters and recycling bins, removing contaminants and keeping containers covered.
- Stockpile processed materials on-site separately. Place, grade, and shape stockpiles to drain surface water. Cover to prevent windblown dust
10. Fugitive Dust Suppression
- Apply water on haul roads.
- Haul materials in properly tarped or sealed containers.
- Restrict vehicle speeds to 10 mph.
- Cover excavated areas and material after excavation activity ceases.
- Reduce the excavation size and/or number of excavations.
- Water-down equipment and excavation faces.