Working with care adjacent to rivers, lakes, and storm drains is needed to reduce potential pollution threat it poses. Contamination of watercourses has an immediate effect, often readily seen. It comes from several sources:
Pollution – Debris, oil & chemical spills Silting – Release of suspended solids Erosion – Loss of site soils by wind or water
General Precautions: All activities that may pollute water should be carried out away from storm drains and channels.
✓ Maintenance & Fueling Precautions: When refueling by hand, use a funnel or a container with a spout to prevent spillage. Small spills add up over time which includes maintenance activities, refueling of gensets, and lubricating equipment. Repair and fluid changing near a water course must be avoided to prevent contamination.
✓ Silt and Mud Precautions: When cleaning any concrete tools, tires, or tracks the dirty water should not be allowed to directly enter into drains or flow into any watercourse. It may be necessary to establish settling ponds to collect contaminated water. Silty water must not be directed into water course or drain. Mud is damaging to plant and animal life in streams.
Control Examples: If silty water is produced, the following examples are steps to take.
✓ Sandbags or rock socks can be placed around drains, inlets, & ditches to prevent dirty water entering a water course.
✓ Settling basins help settle out the silt particles. Clean water can then be discharged into grassy area before allowing runoff to enter a storm sewer.
✓ Housekeeping is necessary to ensure all oily rags, empty containers, waste, and food wrappers are removed. Do not allow them to blow across the site, get offsite, or enter the storm sewer.
✓ Surface Roughening disturbed areas slows the progress of runoff across a site and allows it to absorb instead of entering storm sewers. Revegetation of sites as soon as practicable is a great way to protect disturbed areas from erosion.
✓ Diversion of clean rain water or surface water around the work area keeps it away from disturbed ground and avoids the creation of silty water. The direct discharge of silty waters to the roadside gutter, ditch of a storm sewer is NOT an acceptable way of dealing with runoff and will often result in violations issued by Local, State and Federal authorities.
✓ Safe Storage of fuel, solvents, paints, additives, and chemical storage includes being secured and situated 100 feet away from the watercourse. Any fuel or chemical spills should be reported immediately to your supervisor. Leaking or empty drums or containers should be repaired, sealed or disposed of properly.
✓ To Reduce Erosion; prevent runoff from collecting and running over exposed soil. If this is not possible, then deploy silt fence, berms, check dams, and roughening in a minimum of three controls in series. Never rely on only one control. If it fails a violation and a mess can quickly occur.
✓ Groundwater Disposal through silt socks or settling basins reduces the load of suspended solids in the discharge.
✓ Offsite Tracking during alternating periods of dry and wet weather can release considerable quantities of dirt and soils onto roadways. Frequently call for the sweeper and “fluff” up the VTC to remove offsite tracking and capture soils onsite.
Summary: By taking precautions we minimize the chance of pollution from our work. By doing the “right thing” we ensure our efforts are sustainable and decrease the likelihood of environmental degradation. Should a question arise contact your supervisor.
“The EPA has cited urban stormwater as the largest contributor of pollutants to our waterways.”
Charles Moore, Univ of Tenn , “Urban Storm Water Preliminary Data Summary”