Should You Be Recording Your Own Storm Water inspections?
Have you ever seen the stormwater inspector on your site and thought… “shoot, I could do that”? What do you need to do to be a stormwater inspector anyway? Consider this your guide.
What does a stormwater inspector do anyway?
A stormwater inspector is looking for potential ways your project might be discharging anything besides clean water into a storm drain. This includes anything from concrete washout to dirt on the street from disturbed grounds. But why do we care about dirty water entering a drain anyway?
Stormwater isn’t treated. The water you drink every day and use to make your morning cup of coffee is usually treated, cleaned, and sent through all sorts of filtration systems to make sure you don’t get sick. However, despite oftentimes discharging to one of our lakes, aquifers, rivers or oceans (where we frequently recreate or get our drinking water from) stormwater rarely is treated to the same extent, and usually not at all.
That means that without proper stormwater management, you could be drinking the same water that is discharged away from your construction site… hypothetically speaking.
Ok so now I know what an inspector is doing, can I do my own inspections?
Probably! In fact, you’re required to if you don’t already have someone doing your inspections. Never heard that before? According to the NPDES permit, which covers the entire United States, all construction activities are required to self-monitor their projects in addition to the inspections performed by the city stormwater inspector.
Now, depending on the state enforcement agency, you’ll be more or less familiar with this requirement. Each state does have different requirements based on this legislation which means inspection frequency, specific certifications and background requirements are going to be different state by state.
Usually you need to do inspections on your project every week or two, with many states requiring an additional inspection after every significant rain event! Rain event inspections are not just an excuse to clutter up your day with pointless inspections. Rain events are the ones you need to keep the closest eye on because pollutants are more likely to be discharged when water is flowing across the site.
Can I save money by doing my own inspections?
Well… maybe. Inspections are resource and time dependent. If you are hoping to complete your inspections on the side when you have a spare 15 minutes, you will be missing important details in your inspections which incurs the hidden cost of inspections… risk.
If your inspection reports are not going to accurately represent your project for any reason, you could be subject to municipal fines, penalties, or even having your project shut down until the problems are resolved.
However, when you do your inspections properly, and dedicate accurate resources to stormwater management, you could actually save money by performing your own inspections. Especially if you are a project manager or a site super who is already spending time on site.
Additionally, some companies have found benefits in training their site supervisors/project managers in stormwater management. What’s the benefit to training? You have built in risk reduction on each site that gets overseen by a trained inspector. Depending on the size and scope of your average project, that could be immensely valuable.
Is there an easy way to start recording inspections according to my state’s regulations?
If you are new to stormwater inspections, I highly recommend checking out https://compliancego.com/ for their stormwater management software. ComplianceGo will actually automatically remind you when an inspection is due based on your states requirements and automatically track date, time, rainfall when you record your inspection. Plus, every state that has a recommended/required form, is automatically built in so you know you are always using the most up to date material. It’s a great way to jump start your inspections online and they allow you to inspect an entire project from start to finish for free.
By: Preston Vawdrey