We go over the best stormwater BMPs for any operation.
A lot of companies hire us to assist them with stormwater BMP issues because they have issues with keeping their facility in compliance with their stormwater permit. Other times, they're looking to stay ahead of the regulations, and want to ensure no issues arise.
We find many folks with stormwater permits can get confused, or struggle with understanding and implementing stormwater BMPs. Here we set out to discuss what the best stormwater BMPs are, regardless of your industry or facility.
It's always a great time to address any issues with your stormwater program, since it can literally rain at any time! Getting your facility up to snuff can help you stay ahead of regulations and out of trouble, saving you time and money. Stormwater best management practices can help keep your operation running smoothly, and I advise everyone to revisit them at least annually, to keep problems from appearing.
Chances are, your stormwater permit has some sort of limits or benchmarks in place, so making sure your stormwater discharges come off your site as clean as possible is vital. So let's dive into them, and learn more.
What are the best stormwater BMPs?
Largely, it depends, but these are some tried and true ways you can improve the quality of stormwater at your facility.
- Housekeeping – This is the single best stormwater best management practice you can implement. Operating a cleaner site, free of pollutant-generating debris, sediments, and trash is the best way you can reduce your site’s chance of causing stormwater pollution. Housekeeping also pays huge dividends in site appearance to regulators, the community, neighbors and workers. This the best, and most often overlooked practice at most facilities I've ever been to.
- Spill prevention and control – Stop spills and leaks from happening in the first place, and they won’t be available to be carried off in stormwater runoff. Use of an SPCC Plan here helps tremendously. The more stuff you have on the ground, be it oil, antifreeze, diesel exhaust fluid, etc., the more stuff you'll have in your stormwater.
- Soil erosion and sediment control – One of the most common pollutants in stormwater is solid materials or “sediment” (think dirt) that very often comes from areas of bare ground or materials stockpiles. Activities like planting ground cover like grass, basic landscaping, or the use of stone for soil stabilization are fantastic ways to prevent this. For instance, we've always found that installing basic stone filters has a huge benefit towards reducing sediment in runoff.
- Inspections – Regular, documented inspections of your site, with an eye towards environmental conditions, things that don’t look right, or areas that you can improve on, are one of the best ways you can prevent pollutants from getting into runoff in the first place. Just actually getting outside and walking around your facility is a great stormwater best management practice, and it can alert you to problems before they happen. By the way, most folks with a stormwater permit are required to do this anyways, so you should already be doing this.
- Training – A no-brainer. Everyone needs regular environmental training. Educating your personnel on stormwater pollution, where pollutants come from, and how to prevent them can make all the difference between polluted runoff and clean runoff. I always advise whatever staff you can include, should be included in stormwater training or basic environmental compliance training.
What is the best stormwater permit for you?
Really, it depends. The best stormwater permit for you or your operation is whatever works best for your facility. Kind of a dumb statement, but the reality is there is are no single BMPs that are "the best" for everyone.
These stormwater best management practices aren’t the only ones you should implement. There's a whole host of other options out there, but they'll really depend on your site, your permit, and what you need to accomplish. Some can be elaborate and expensive, while others are simple and cheap.
But we find these are the basic and often times best stormwater BMPs. If you start with these, we find that for most facilities, they'll yield the best results. When we start working with clients at a new facility, we won't even start thinking bigger until these basic best management practices are happening. Obviously there's special cases, but this is where we always start, and encourage you to start here as well.
Now your turn – what stormwater best management practices work best for you? Additionally, if you have any questions about the best stormwater BMPs, or are having issues with your stormwater permit, click here to contact us, or call us at 609-693-8301 to discuss your needs today.