If you’re in the construction business, you’ve likely heard of SWPPP — stormwater pollution prevention plan. It’s quite a mouthful — like any government regulation — but the team at Erosion Control Services wants you to familiarize yourself with exactly what SWPPP is and how it works so that you don’t incur fines or penalties.
What Is SWPPP?
SWPPP, created by the Environmental Protection Agency, dates back to the 1970s and the Clean Water Act. SWPPP is a federal regulation, but states can impose more stringent requirements if they want to.
SWPPP rules were made to prevent pollution from construction sites from entering stormwater drains, where it continues on to local bodies of water, impacting fish, plants and wildlife.
Fines & Imprisonment
When a person or a company is found to have violated SWPPP or failed to obtain the necessary permits, they are subject to penalties that can be handed down by the EPA or a state or local authority. According to the EPA, a negligent violation can result in a year in jail and $2,500-$25,000 in fines per day. Subsequent convictions can result in two years in jail and fines of $50,000 per day.
Knowing violations carry a penalty of three years and $5,000-$50,000 per day. Subsequent convictions call for six years in jail and fines of $100,000 a day.
What can happen when SWPPP rules aren’t followed? A mining company in Juneau, Alaska, was fined $240,000 for NPDES permit violations and another $210,000 for MSGP permit violations. The violations included discharging acid rain into a lake. Additionally, their SWPPP was incomplete and they did not properly monitor, assess or inspect the site on an ongoing basis.
As you can see, knowingly violating a SWPPP carries a much heavier penalty than honest mistakes. But ignorance of the law is no excuse — a fine for negligence is still steep.
Rely on Erosion Control Services
SWPPPs are complicated enough that in many instances, special training is required for inspectors in Utah. We sympathize with construction companies that want to save money by handling their own SWPPPs, but we also hate to see them incur huge fines by making mistakes.
Depending on the size of your company, a SWPPP violation fine could put you out of business. Think about how long it takes you to make a profit of $25,000. Even big companies don’t want to throw away that much money.
When you work with Erosion Control Services, we will consult for your company to help prevent any SWPPP violations. Our SWPPP inspectors visit your site regularly, and after a rain event if we find mistakes, we tell you so you can correct them right away.
Additionally, we offer services such as installing erosion wattles, silt fences, inlet protection (Flexstorm), and other erosion control solutions. Contact us the next time your job necessitates getting a SWPPP and an NPDES. You’ll appreciate the peace of mind.