NPDES Stormwater Pollution

Topics for Construction Controls of Stormwater Pollution

drainage weir for construction control of stormwater pollution
Drainage weir for construction control of pollution from stormwater runoff
  • Background of Construction NPDES Stormwater
  • Types of Pollution
  • Types of Construction Controls
  • Selection of Construction Controls
  • Inspect & Fine Tune
  • Conclusion

Background for Construction NPDES Stormwater

This is the third post in a series on Construction NPDES Stormwater Permits and stormwater plans and it deals with different types of construction controls for stormwater pollution (see & First, we discussed the permits in detail. Second, we discussed the types of pollution which can occur on construction sites. Third, we now turn to discussing the controls.

Types of Pollution

In our last post on construction pollution, we identified the following main types of pollution. First, are particles created by digging, grading, drilling, and dewatering. Second, is existing contamination from past usage and it includes gas, diesel fuel, oil, hazardous wastes, and agricultural materials. Third and finally, is the type of pollution which comes from construction activities on site. It may include gas, oil, diesel fuel, paint, solvents, grease, fertilizer, pesticides, and sewage.

Types of Construction Controls

The types of controls are as different as are construction sites. However, they fall into four groups. Firstly, are barrier controls which block, divert, or filter stormwater runoff. This group includes black silt fence, earthen berms, vegetated screens, sand bags, turbidity curtains, and hay bales. Secondly, are drainage controls. In this group are pipes, swales, ponds, ditches, settling basins, drainage weirs, and sediment traps. Thirdly, are covers. Included are seed, sod, straw, mulch, pavement, geo-textiles, sidewalks, and curbs. Fourthly and finally, are practices and procedures. Included in this group are housekeeping, hazardous material storage and usage, portable toilets, fuel tanks, oil, grease, paint, waste disposal, and solvents.

Selection of Construction Controls

The selection of controls depends on several factors. First, is the size of the site. Second, are the development plans for the site. For example, if there are 500 acres to be clear cut, there will be site-wide erosion and sediment controls compared to disturbance of 1/2-acre of a 5 acre site. Controls in the latter case will be more limited and confined to that portion of the site being developed. Third, is the construction schedule. A very short schedule will minimize the time for controls to be in place. On the other hand, a long schedule will require long-term controls, maintenance, and most likely replacement. Fourth and finally, are miscellaneous factors such as the numbers of workers, subcontractors, and equipment on the site; the nature of soil disturbing activities; waiting time for regulatory inspections; quantities and locations of hazardous materials; and many, many more.

Inspect and Fine Tune

From the start, embrace controls as ongoing and requiring maintenance and possible replacement. Complete weekly and post-rainfall inspections as required by your stormwater plan ( This plan (SWPPP) is mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).


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In conclusion, address construction controls while designing the project. Then, continue addressing them during all construction and until the site is stabilized. However, continue monitoring the site until it is occupied. Then, if you need any assistance, ESC is here. Further, the firm holds a Florida engineering business license and has a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) on staff. In addition, ESC’s staff scientists and engineer hold bachelors and masters degrees and have over seventy (70) years of combined experience in the stormwater, surface water pollution, and environmental permits field. Furthermore, ESC has been providing NPDES stormwater permits services to its clientele for over thirty (30) years. Finally, ESC has the credentials and experience to help you with your stormwater permits related needs. Contact ESC today ( ESC strives to reply to all contacts promptly!


NPDES Stormwater & Construction Pollution


  • Introduction
  • Suspended Particles
  • Existing Contamination
  • Construction Pollution Chemicals
  • Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)
  • Conclusion

Introduction – Construction Pollution

Clearing and developing construction sites disturbs soil and other materials, creating construction pollution. This pollution may be from the site itself, or from the procedures and materials used on the site. Stormwater runoff from rainfall can carry these materials off site. As a result, these materials pollute receiving surface waters. This is because the runoff may be toxic to fish, wildlife, and plants in the receiving water. However, Construction NPDES Stormwater Permits (see our recent blog article at minimize this construction pollution and these impacts.

Suspended Particles

construction pollution in receiving water
Construction pollution in receiving water

Digging, grading, drilling, and dewatering operations create particles from soil, clays, sand, organic matter, and debris. Stormwater runoff picks them up, then they become suspended. As a result, in the receiving surface water these suspended particles block off sunlight from plants and deplete oxygen. Once that occurs, the receiving water can become polluted and devoid of life. However, turbidity measurements determine if the suspended particles are excessive and capable of causing pollution.

Existing Contamination

In comparison to susended particles, construction operations do not cause existing contamination. On the contrary, existing contamination is caused by past usage of the site, legally or illegally, and includes several types of pollution. These types include gasoline, diesel fuel, oil, agricultural materials, or hazardous wastes. The contamination’s location and its concentration may be well documented and the contractor can be forewarned. On the other hand, it may not be and the contractor may discover it after disturbing it. Therefore, the contractor must prepare a plan to handle unknown pollution, including a list of emergency response contractors.

Construction Pollution Chemicals

These chemicals may come from developing the site, working on the equipment, or construction of buildings. For example, they may include, gas, oil, diesel fuel, paint, solvents, grease, fertilizer, pesticides, and sewage, and come from several sources including ordinary use, misuse, storage, leaks, spills, or vandalism.

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (aka SWPPPs) prevent construction pollution and eliminate or reduce the impact on receiving waters in several ways. Firstly, they identify operations which will cause pollution. Secondly, they result in a change of the operations. Thirdly, they identify effective controls and provide a schedule for implementation. Most importantly, prepare an effective SWPPP using resources such as the web site of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (


Environmental Safety Consultants, Inc.
Environmental Safety Consultants, Inc.

Stormwater runoff from construction sites does not have to pollute receiving surface waters. If you need any assistance, ESC is here. The firm holds a Florida engineering business license and has a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) on staff. ESC’s staff scientists hold bachelors and masters degrees and have over seventy (70) years of combined experience in the stormwater, surface water pollution, and environmental permits field. ESC has been providing NPDES stormwater permits services to its clientele for over thirty (30) years. We have the credentials and experience to help you with your stormwater permits needs. Contact us today ( We strive to reply to all contacts promptly!






what is construction stormwater permit?
Typical Construction Stormwater Permits Site.

Introduction – Construction NPDES Stormwater Permits
Stormwater Plans (SWPPP)
NPDES Stormwater Permits Application
Erosion & Sediment Controls
Stabilization & Permit Termination


By design, Construction NPDES Stormwater Permits reduce or eliminate polluted stormwater leaving construction sites. These permits started in the early 1990’s (see one of our previous blogs on environmental permits, ), by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA,

Subsequently, the EPA delegated the stormwater NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permits program to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). As a result, contractors, developers, and owners must obtain coverage under the Construction NPDES Stormwater General Permit and comply with all requirements during construction at a site.

Stormwater Plans (SWPPP)

Prepare Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP, as explained in our other blog ) before the construction contractor requests coverage under the NPDES General Permit. After that, incorporate the SWPPP elements into the construction plans. To explain further, these SWPPP elements on the plans include sediment and erosion controls.


The following are the main components of SWPPPs:

  • Site & Project Description
  • Significant Soil Disturbance Activities & Pollutants
  • Controls – Erosion & Sediment
  • Construction Schedule
  • Site Stabilization
  • Certifications of Owner, Contractor, & Subcontractors
  • Inspections

Construction NPDES Stormwater Permits Application

Complete a Notice of Intent form to apply for coverage under the General Permit for construction sites. Mail it to the FDEP with a check for the permit fee. After that, follow up with the FDEP to confirm receipt and coverage under that stormwater permit.

Construction NPDES Stormwater Permits Inspections

To start, install a rain gage, prepare a log book, start monitoring rainfall daily, and record it in the log book. Next, complete inspections weekly and within twenty-four (24) hours of rainfall events of at least ½ inch of rain. To do so, select an inspector with the proper training and qualifications. Then, equip the inspector with an inspection form. Further, require the inspector to fill out the form for each inspection and take pictures of conditions which could pollute stormwater runoff. Next, review each inspection form as soon as possible and sign it as the Site Stormwater Manager. Finally, correct faulty conditions as soon as possible.

Stabilization & Permit Termination

Stabilize the site after completing all significant soil disturbing activities. To explain, seed disturbed areas, sod where needed, and remove temporary controls no longer needed to control erosion and sediment. After that, stop coverage under the NPDES Stormwater Permit by completing a Notice of Termination with the FDEP. The Notice does not require a fee, but you do need to confirm receipt of the Notice by the FDEP.

Environmental Safety Consultants, Inc.

So there is a discussion of Construction NPDES Stormwater Permits. If you need any assistance, ESC is here. The firm holds a Florida engineering business license and has a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) on staff. We also have staff scientists with bachelors and masters degrees with over seventy (70) years of experience in the stormwater and environmental permits field. ESC has been providing NPDES stormwater permits services to its clientele for over thirty (30) years. We have the credentials and experience to help you with your stormwater permits needs. Contact us today ( We strive to reply to all contacts promptly!

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)


So far, we have provided several blog posts on or related to environmental engineering, which is provided Developing a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Planby environmental consulting firms like ours, Environmental Safety Consultants, Inc. (ESC). We provided information on environmental permits, then went into an overview of environmental engineering. Next, we addressed industrial wastewater and, finally, air emissions control provided by an air engineer. There was also a blog post discussing Florida NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) Industrial Stormwater requirements. Now we will discuss the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)

The current paper will discuss environmental engineering required for an SWPPP (Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan). The regulatory requirements are provided by both the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency, and the FDEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection, The requirements discussed herein primarily cover manufacturing and industrial facilities with SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) Codes 21 – 39 with specific exposure to stormwater. 


The objective of the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan is self-evident from its name. Basically, the plan prevents pollution of stormwater so it does not impact receiving waters. Otherwise, it can impair the biological organisms and public health. 

Components of Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan

In preparing the SWPPP, the environmental engineer first identifies the facility and describes its operations, location, and receiving surface waters. Next, the engineer gathers information and data in the following areas to assess the facility’s impact to stormwater: 

  • Topography, runoff, & discharge point(s) 
  • Material inventory, quantities, & exposure 
  • Significant spills or leaks last three years 
  • Non-stormwater discharges
  • Pollutant sources & specific parameters 
  • Best Management Practices (BMPs) to control pollutants 

Based on the results of the preceding, the environmental engineer discusses the findings with the client, then prepares the SWPPP and submits it for review. It is important that the client be able to implement and use the plan to reduce or eliminate pollutants in the facility’s stormwater runoff. 


The client’s management must endorse the SWPPP and sign it as documentation. The client forms a Pollution Prevention Team (PPT) and identifies it in the SWPPP. Team members and other personnel receive training. Management commits resources to attain the plan’s objective and implements the BMPs selected. The PPT completes visual monitoring of the stormwater discharge quarterly and, possibly, laboratory analysis during the second and fourth years of the five year permit. The client keeps all records in the SWPPP and, thus, it is a living document. 

Environmental Safety ConsultantsSo there is a discussion of the preparation of an SWPPP by an environmental engineer! If you need any assistance, Environmental Safety Consultants ( is here. We are a Florida licensed environmental consulting and Florida licensed environmental engineering firm with a P.E. on staff. We have the credentials and experience to help you with your SWPPP.  Contact us today ( We strive to reply to all contacts promptly!

Environmental Permits Overview

What Environmental Permits are there?

Environmental Permits Bradenton and Sarasota

environmental permits.  Here are just a few:


  • Wetlands
  • Endangered Species

Industry & Construction

  • Air Permits for Air Discharges from Industry
  • Wastewater Discharge, Sanitary and Industrial
  • Hazardous Wastes, Transportation, Disposal & Storage
  • Stormwater, Retention Ponds, Detention Ponds, Stormwater Runoff – Construction and Industry


  • Septic Tanks
  • Drinking Water, Private Wells and Community Supplies
  • Solid Wastes, Landfills & Incineration

Permit Needs

You have to review your planned operation to see if it will require environmental permits.  Then, you have to decide what part of the environment it may impact.  For example, will it impact air, water, or land?  To further explain, will it be changing the existing site?

Example 1

Example 1 is environmental permits for building and paving a site. As a result, that activity decreases percolation of rain water into the ground.  Because of that, more stormwater will run off the site. So, that could require a stormwater retention or detention pond permit. Further, it could require an NPDES  permit for industrial sites. Additionally, those sites may have to prepare a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).

Example 2

Example 2 is environmental permits for certain industrial facilities.  In addition to the stormwater permits and plan identified in Example 1 above, there are other permits. For instance, sewer discharge permits may be required. Further, air permits may be needed.  Finally, are used oil and hazardous waste requirements.


Responsibility for acquiring the permits can fall on many different parties. For example, it can include developers and builders. Additionally, it may include banks, attorneys, architects, or engineers. Finally, it can include manufacturers, industrial facilities, hospitals, crematories, municipalities, and many more!


If you need lifelines, who should you call?  Firstly, some of the best lifelines are your associates. So, why is that true? Because their knowledge base can be a good starting point.  And so, who are your associates? To begin with, they may be your co-workers, partners, or managers. Next, outside of them, for instance, are your attorney, professional colleagues, and environmental engineering companies.  Finally, those associates may direct you to agencies or may contact the agencies themselves on your behalf.


There are several key agencies which typically administer the various types of environmental permits.  Firstly, are local agencies. For example, these may include the Water Management Districts, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), counties, and cities.  Secondly, are federal agencies. For example, these may include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).  But, just be careful what you say.  Because, it is all in the presentation!

Let ESC Help

ESC Environmental Permits Overview

In conclusion, there are many permits identified in this Overview of Environmental Permits! But just remember that ESC is a Florida licensed engineering company with the experience and knowledge to help you. That is because our specialty is permits concerning air emissions, industrial discharges, NPDES stormwater, and more. We service Bradenton, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, and Fort Meyers. That includes Manatee, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Lee and other counties from Pensacola (Escambia County) to Key West (Monroe County). So,  Contact ESC and get a reply promptly!