The Why on NPDES Inspections

In the state of Florida construction projects that impact over an acre of land are required to perform NPDES inspections once a week and for every half inch rain event in accordance with the FDEP Construction Generic Permit. It is important to understand the purpose of these inspections and how they can help the surrounding areas and be a successful part of a project.

At the peak of construction, the number of machines, equipment, workers and chemicals on a site can be overwhelming. As construction workers do their best to keep up with the timeline of events, failing Best Management Practices (BMP) can be easily overlooked. With lack of the proper erosion and sediment control devices installed and maintained it is possible to have a significant impact on a nearby wetland or waterway.  Doing routine inspections helps to keep your team aware of sensitive parts of the site and find potential areas of concern.  When a failing BMP is found during a routine inspection it allows for the problem to be addressed in a timely manner and to avoid any additional issues.  When overlooking environmental concerns, you also increase chances of fines, project delays, and additional cost for unexpected repairs and treatment.

The picture below is a perfect example of when a construction site is not properly monitored. If a turbidity curtain was used, the sediment could have had the proper time to settle out and not lead downstream where it can cause problems.  Situations like these can be avoided by having a qualified inspector come to the site and help identify potential issues and ensure all BMPs are functioning.  

In addition to completing inspections it is important to have good communication between the inspector, site supervisor, and maintenance crew.  It is crucial to read the report and address any concerns. Action items that seem minor initially can create thousands of dollars in repairs after a major storm event.

Over the past few years, the state of Florida has been developing rapidly. Development is going to continue, and when it is properly monitored and maintained the impacts on the surrounding ecosystems will hopefully reduce. Florida is home to 2.9 million acres of wetlands, and it is very important that construction sites are in compliance and have routine NPDES inspections on their site.

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