Land Developers and Contractors
Construction activities, aside from the actual building of structures, typically involve a combination of clearing land, removing vegetation, grading the land surface, excavating earth, removing and importing soil and/or rock, installing utilities, installing septic systems or sewer lines, building access roads and driveways, and establishing permanent landscaping.
These construction-related activities have the proven potential to affect water quality in nearby streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, reservoirs and ground water aquifers. Water quality impacts can result from erosion, sedimentation, minor chemical spills and leaks, and pollutants carried in runoff from the site to nearby water bodies. The construction phase of land development can be a significant threat to local water quality, particularly because of the area of exposed land. This can contribute large loads of sediment to the site runoff. Significant sediment loads can impair drinking water sources and can inhibit the efficiency of drinking water treatment processes. Sediments from construction sites could also act as vehicles for other available pollutants, such as metals, petroleum-based compounds, and other organic chemicals, that adsorb easily into sediments. Therefore, the most effective way to protect nearby drinking water sources during the construction phase is to keep sediment from moving off-site and from entering any surface waterbodies.
Adapted from: http://www.epa.gov/NE/eco/drinkwater/
Developers and Contractors can do the following to reduce impacts to water quality:
- Before clearing a site, have the storm water permit in hand and install the required sediment controls such as silt fences, storm detention and retention ponds, and sediment basins to return sediment on site.
The State of Mississippi’s storm water regulations require erosion and sediment control permits for construction projects 5 acres and greater, and as of March 10, 2003, for 1 acre and greater and for surface mining sites.
For permitting information call (601) 961-5171, access MDEQ’s website at www.deq.state.ms.us or write:
Chief, Environmental Permits Division
MS Dept. of Environmental Quality
Office of Pollution Control
P.O. BOX 2261
Jackson, MS 39225
Minimize disturbances to trees and vegetation. Retaining natural vegetation around creeks and drainage areas is of special importance.
- Follow storm water management guidelines when designing and installing drainage systems.
Do not channel concentrated runoff flows into natural creeks and gullies.
Implement Low Impact Development (LID) to your construction design. This approach to development can not only help water quality, but if the approach is comprehensively integrated in the design phase of a project, it can also save the developer money.
See EPA website on LID: www.epa.gov/owow/nps/lid/
Design drainage systems to maximize infiltration into the soil and minimize concentrated flows which may require curbs and gutters.
- Correct erosion problems immediately. It’s The Law!