U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking comments on its proposed
guidelines to control the discharge of pollutants from construction sites. The
proposal would require all construction sites to implement erosion and sediment
control best management practices to reduce pollutants in stormwater
activities such as clearing, excavating and grading significantly disturb the
land. The disturbed soil, if not managed properly, can easily be washed off the
construction site during storms and enter streams, lakes and other waters.
Stormwater discharges from construction activities can cause an array of
physical, chemical and biological impacts.
is one of the leading causes of water quality impairment nationwide, including
reducing water depth in small streams, lakes and reservoirs.
proposal also notes that, for certain large sites located in areas of the
country with high rainfall intensity and soils with a high clay content,
stormwater discharges from the construction site would be required to meet a
numeric limit on the allowable level of turbidity, which is a measure of
sediment in the water. In order to meet the proposed numeric turbidity limit,
many sites would need to treat and filter their
This proposed rule
is projected to reduce the amount of sediment discharged from construction
sites by up to 27 billion pounds each year, at an annual cost of $1.9 billion.
The benefits from reducing discharges of sediments include better protection
for drinking water supplies, improvements in aquatic environments (e.g.,
reduced streambed smothering), and less need for dredging of navigation
channels and reservoirs.
To comment on this proposal, go to www.regulations.gov
and search for document EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0465. Comments are due by the end of