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Construction Site Runoff Pollution Prevention Procedures

Construction Site Runoff Pollution Prevention Procedures

The City of San Francisco is required by Federal, State[1] , and local laws[2] to implement programs that reduce the discharge of pollution to the local storm drain system. Runoff from construction sites is a major source of pollution and is subject to these requirements to improve stormwater quality. These requirements vary under different conditions, but can include the development of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (a SWPPP), plan review, stormwater treatment measures, runoff monitoring, and increased site inspections. To assist construction professionals understand and comply with new requirements, we have developed "Keep it on Site" (Part 1, 2, and 3) as a part of our Construction Site Water Pollution Prevention Program to ensure that our precious public resources like clean water are never compromised.

cover image for the Construction BMP manualThis handbook describes the Best Management Practices (BMPs) aimed to reduce pollutants at the source. The suite of BMPs presented in the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Construction Best Management Practices handbook is designed to prevent the discharge of sediment, non-stormwater and waste runoff from a site. These practices can also be used to divert runoff away from contaminated areas or to treat stormwater runoff before being permitted to discharge to the sewer/storm drain.

Erosion and Sediment Control Plans

Any project within San Francisco disturbing 5000 square feet or more of ground surface is required to submit and receive approval of an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan prior to commencing any construction related activities.  An Erosion and Sediment Control Plan is a site specific plan that details the use, location and emplacement of the sediment and erosion control devices at the project site.

  • must include location and perimeter of the project site;
  • must include the location of nearby storm drains and/or catch basins;
  • must include existing and proposed roadways and drainage pattern within the project site;
  • must include a drawing or diagram of the sediment and erosion control devices to used onsite.

All construction sites, regardless of size, must implement BMP's to prevent illicit discharge into the sewer system.  For more information on San Francisco's requirements please call Audie Ilejay at (415) 695-7339.

If your project would be conducting any dewatering activity, you are required to apply for a Wastewater Batch Discharge Permit from the Wastewater Enterprise Collection System Division at (415) 695-7310.

All construction sites must implement BMPs to prevent illicit discharge into the combined sewer. For more information on San Francisco's discharge requirement, please call Audie Ilejay at (415) 695-7339.


Is my project in the Combined or Separate Sewer System? View Larger Map
 

State Construction General Permit

Any project disturbing greater than or equal to 1 (one) acre of soil or is part of a larger development that disturbs 1 (one) or more acres is required to obtain coverage under the California State Water Resources Control Board General Permit for Discharges Associated with Construction Activity (Construction General Permit). Construction activities subject to this permit include clearing, grading, stockpiling and excavation. The general permit process involves:

  • Notification to state and local agencies of the proposed construction activity through a Notice of Intent (NOI).
  • Filing a fee
  • Development of a SWPPP to minimize pollutant contact with stormwater runoff.
  • Implementation of specific monitoring efforts.

Any project requiring coverage under the State Construction General Permit must also submit either an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan or Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

Discharges Associated with Construction

If the area your project disturbs is in a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) and disturbs 1 or more acres of soil or is part of a larger development that disturbs 1 or more acres, you are required to obtain coverage under the California State Water Resources Control Board General Permit for Discharges Associated with Construction Activity (Construction General Permit).

Construction activities subject to this permit include clearing, grading, stockpiling, and excavation. The general permit process involves:

  • Notification to state and local agencies of the proposed construction activity through a Notice of Intent (NOI).
  • Filing a fee
  • Development of a SWPPP to minimize pollutant contact with stormwater runoff.
  • Implementation of specific monitoring efforts.

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans

A Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) describes the BMPs that the contractor will implement to prevent erosion and discharge of sediment and other pollutants in construction site stormwater runoff. 

A Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan:

  • must include site map which defines the location and perimeter of the construction site;
  • must identify the existing and proposed buildings, lots, roadways, stormwater collection and discharge points;
  • and must represent the topography both before and after construction, and drainage patterns across the project.

Coverage under the Construction General Permit is not required for regular maintenance activities performed within the original line, grade or capacity of a facility (for example, slurry sealing a parking lot). For more information on San Francisco's requirements please call Audie Ilejay at (415)695-7339.

Batch Discharges to the City’s Sewer System

All construction sites in San Francisco that plan to conduct non-routine, episodic, batch, or other temporary discharges to the City’s combined sewer system must obtain a Batch Wastewater Discharge Permit from San Francisco Water, Power and Sewer. Examples of such discharges include the following: de-watering of construction sites; de-watering of wells drilled to investigate or mitigate a suspected contaminated site; power-washing of buildings or parking lots; or any other activity that generates wastewater, other than from routine commercial or industrial processes. More information on this permit and the permit application form can be found on the Pretreatment Program webpage.

Building on Contaminated Sites

There are certain areas of the city that consist of fill and are covered by an ordinance called the Maher Ordinance. These areas were once highly industrialized and contaminated or consist of imported fill consisting of soil and debris from the 1906 earthquake. These areas usually contain lead and other pollutants. To protect public and worker health and safety due to these historic pollutants, projects that involve disturbance of these soils of more than 50 cubic yards require investigation, site management and reporting subject to Article 22A of the San Francisco Health Code. For more information about compliance please call Stephanie Cushing of the San Francisco Department of Public Health Local Oversight Program at (415) 252-3926.

Do I need to implement BMPs?

YES! All construction projects in San Francisco must implement BMPs to reduce runoff to the sewer or receiving water bodies. See the California Best Management Handbook for up-to-date BMP technologies.

Port Building Permits

All construction activities taking place on Port of San Francisco property must receive a building permit from the Port Engineering Division prior to commencement. Please contact the Port of San Francisco at (415) 274-0256.

Inspection and Enforcement

The City of San Francisco's Construction Runoff Control Program was established to ensure that all businesses comply with all appropriate stormwater laws and other City requirements. The City and County of San Francisco can inspect your construction site without warning. Contractors, site supervisors and property owners found to be negligent in applying BMPs and adhering to stormwater rules can be held responsible for violations, which may lead to a civil penalty of up to $25,000 per day and reimbursing the City for all expenses associated with clean up.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the filing process and permit procedures?

  • Submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to the State Water Resources Control Board(SWRCB) under the NPDES General Construction Permit before you start site construction. Additional details on how to submit for the General Construction Permit can be obtained from the State Water Resources Control Board website.
  • Develop and Implement a SWPPP. A Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) describes site construction activities and documents the use of stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) tailored to those activities. The SWPPP has two main objectives: i) identify pollutant sources at the construction site and ii) describe practices to reduce sediment and other pollutants in stormwater runoff. A useful guide for construction SWPPP preparation has been developed by the California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA).
  • Conduct Water Quality Monitoring Work. Permittees must conduct construction site inspections prior to anticipated storms and after actual storms to find areas contributing pollutants to stormwater runoff and to determine whether procedures described in the SWPPP are adequate and properly implemented. Each permittee must certify annually that construction activity complies with the General Construction Permit.
  • When construction work is done, cancel your coverage under the General Construction Permit by submitting a Notice of Termination to the RWQCB that certifies:
    • construction activity is completed
    • all parts of the SWPPP have been completed
    • construction and equipment maintenance waste have been properly disposed of;
    • and the site complies with all local stormwater management requirements

Do I need to obtain coverage under the Statewide Construction General Permit?

  • YES, if your project involves clearing, grading, or excavation that causes soil disturbance on one or more acres and is located in a MS4 area.
  • YES, if your project is in a MS4 area.
  • YES, if your project involves construction activity involving less than one acre of soils disturbance and is part of a larger contiguous development effort and is in the separate sewer area.
  • NO, if your project is already covered under an individual National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit with stormwater provisions.
  • NO, if your project is less than one acre in size and your project is routine site maintenance of original line and grade, hydraulic capacity or facility.
  • NO, if your project involves emergency construction activities required to protect public health and safety.
  • NO, if your project involves discharges associated with dredging and/or filling already regulated by the Army Corp of Engineers through the Rivers and Harbors Act or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

Do I have to prepare a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)?

  • YES, if your project involves clearing, grading, or excavation that causes soil disturbance on one or more acres and is located in a MS4 area.
  • NO, if your project is not in a MS4 area.
  • YES, if your project involves construction activity involving less than one acre of soils  disturbance and is part of a larger contiguous development effort and is in the separate sewer area.
  • NO, if your project is already covered under an individual National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit with stormwater provisions.
  • NO, if your project is less than one acre in size and your project is routine site maintenance of original line and grade, hydraulic capacity or facility.
  • NO, if your project involves emergency construction activities required to protect public health and safety.
  • NO, if your project involves discharges associated with dredging and/or filling already regulated by the Army Corp of Engineers through the Rivers and Harbors Act or Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

Do I have to implement BMPs on my construction site?

  • YES, if your project involves clearing, grading, or excavation that causes soil disturbance.
  • YES, if the sewers may be impaired by any runoff from your site.
  • NO, if your project involves emergency construction activities required to protect public health and safety.

Who do I contact if I'm not sure whether I must comply, or need help in complying?

As the applicant, you have the responsibility to determine if you are covered by the regulations and required to file. However, staff will also review your project plans and make a determination as to the applicability of the General Construction Permit. If you need help preparing plans and paperwork, qualified environmental consultants can be found in your local phone book.

Contractors and Builders are responsible for ensuring that BMPs are implemented throughout the building process and that all members of the construction team are knowledgeable about the BMPs implementation and maintenance. Please refer to our brochure on construction site runoff. You can also receive training from the following organizations:

- California State University, Sacramento offers online training at: www.owp.csus.edu/research/bmpcourses/

[1] NPDES Phase II General Permit for municipal separate storm sewer systems (http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/stormwtr/phase_ii_municipal.html) and NPDES General Permit for discharges associated with construction activity (http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/stormwtr/docs/finalconstpermit.pdf)
[2] San Francisco Municipal Code (Public Works Code) Part II. Chapter 10. Article 4.1. 40 GF Section 403

Attachments:
Separate Sewer Areas 

 

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Last updated: 7/18/2014 4:58:31 PM