Preliminary Site Evaluations

Every construction activity will alter the environment in some manner. Most times the effect on the surrounding watershed is insignificant, yet there are times when downstream conditions are severely altered due to certain activities. Our professionals will visit the site prior to the commencement of any construction activity and document the land conditions, the quality of any waterbodies on or adjacent to the site, and take photographs of the site and surrounding area. This information is vital for ensuring that the construction activity does not contribute to offsite damage and for protecting the owner from becoming responsible for any existing damages that occurred prior to the land disturbance.

By conducting a preconstruction site evaluation, we are better able to assist the owner of the construction activity when dealing with allegations from citizens and government entities. Without this valuable information, it is difficult, if not impossible, to prove that the construction activity did not significantly alter the environment or cause damage to offsite properties and waterbodies. With a complete preconstruction site evaluation, you will have the assurance of knowing that the existing site conditions have been documented properly and you will not have to spend your time and money dealing with environmental impacts that you are not responsible for.

Preconstruction Conferences

The 2006 NPDES General Permit For Storm Water Discharges From Large and Small Construction Activities requires that a preconstruction conference be held onsite with each contractor involved in land disturbing activities. These conferences must be conducted by a SC Registered Professional Engineer. Since we are a firm that is staffed with some of the most knowledgeable professional engineers involved in the storm water management field in South Carolina, we are able to provide this service to our clients even if the site plan was prepared by another professional engineer.

Preconstruction conferences are a very important, yet time consuming part of the construction process that we are equipped to handle for you. We will meet onsite with each contractor as they are brought onto the jobsite and explain the purpose of the sediment and erosion control plan. At this time we will also have them sign a co-permittee agreement, also known as a contractor certification statement. This certification is required by SC DHEC and places certain permit responsibilities on the contractors. We want to ensure that each and every person working on the site understands what their role is and how their work can impact others who are working on the site.

Weekly Site Inspections

As a condition of the 2006 NPDES General Permit For Construction Activities, all permittees are required to ensure that weekly inspections of their land disturbing activities are conducted. Under the previous 1998 NPDES General Permit, these weekly inspections were to be conducted by qualified personnel. “Qualified personnel” is a vague term and was simply defined as someone who is knowledgeable in the principles and practices of sediment and erosion control. The new 2006 NPDES General Permit goes one step further and defines who is qualified to conduct inspections. These inspections will now have to be performed by one of the following:

  • + The site plan preparer:
    • - SC Registered Professional Engineer
    • - Tier B Land Surveyor
    • - Landscape Architect
  • + Someone with a professional registration equivalent to that of the site plan preparer
  • + Someone who has been certified as a storm water inspector through a SC DHEC-approved certification course

These weekly inspection reports are to include the following items, at a minimum;

  • + Inspection date;

    + Name and qualifications of the inspector;

    + Weather information for the period since the last inspection;

    + Weather information and a description of any discharges occurring at the time of the inspection;

    + Location of discharges of sediment or other pollutants from the site

    + Location of Best Management Practices (BMPs) that need maintenance;

    + Location of BMPs that failed to operate as designed or proved inadequate for a particular location

    + Location where additional BMPs are needed; and

    + Corrective actions required including any necessary changes to the SWPPP and implementation dates.

We recognize that with the fast paced construction industry, keeping up with weekly site inspections and submitting monthly reports can be time consuming. By allowing us to handle your storm water compliance needs, you will have more time to devote to the daily operations of your business. Our professional staff will ensure that your inspections and monthly reports are completed on time, every time.

Monthly Report Submittals

As a condition of the new 2006 NPDES General Permit For Storm Water Discharges From Large and Small Construction Activities, the owner or operator of any land disturbing activity that is 10 or more acres in size must submit a monthly report to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and, if applicable, the appropriate Regulated Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). These reports may be required on a project-by-project or operator-by-operator basis for smaller land disturbances as well.

Each monthly report must identify any problems at the site along with what has been or needs to be done to correct the problems. Also, any contractor whose work at the site may impact the storm water management and sediment and erosion control devices is now required to become a "co-permittee" with the owner. They must sign a co-permittee certification form acknowledging their responsibilities at the site. Copies of any co-permittee certifications that have been signed during the month must be submitted with the inspection report for that month. We keep track of these certifications as well as ensure that each co-permittee is aware of what their role is in the construction process.

In order to better manage monthly reports and to assist SC DHEC in keeping up with these reports, we have created a web-based data storage system. Our reports are loaded to a secure website where the appropriate DHEC staff have access to them. This system eliminates the possibility of reports getting lost in the mail or being misplaced.

Complaint Resolution

No matter how well a construction site is designed, maintained, and monitored, sometimes Mother Nature will toss a storm event your way that your Best Management Practices can not or are not designed to handle. Most regulations require that storm water management and sediment and erosion control devices be designed to handle the 2 and 10-year, 24 hour rainfall events. However, a typical summertime thunderstorm or a tropical weather system can dump several inches of rain on your site in a very short amount of time. On occasion, this type of situation may overload your BMPs and storm water devices, therefore creating potential problems both on and offsite. In situations like this, we will have documentation to provide to any citizen or regulatory inquiry showing that the site has been inspected and maintained in accordance with the regulations that are in place.

If it can be proven that your site has been inspected every week and that the proper maintenance has been performed prior to excessive rainfall events, then you can rest assured that regulatory agencies will have a much more difficult time taking enforcement action against you than if you were not able to provide this documentation. With our continual site monitoring, our clients can be assured that we will notify them of any necessary corrective actions which may need to be taken to protect their site, water quality and adjacent property. We will stand beside our clients until any and all disputes with third parties and regulatory agencies are resolved.

Final Certification of Site Stabilization

As a condition of the new 2006 NPDES General Permit for Storm Water Discharges From Large and Small Construction Activities, preconstruction conferences, weekly storm water inspections, and monthly reporting requirements are mandatory from the time any land disturbance begins until the site has been stabilized with some type of permanent ground cover. Once stabilization has been achieved, the permit coverage may be cancelled by filing a Notice of Termination with SC DHEC. In order for this to occur, a SC registered professional engineer must certify that the site has been properly stabilized and that construction has proceeded in accordance with the approved storm water management plans.

Our staff of professional engineers will submit this certification statement and the Notice of Termination along with the last monthly inspection report. Once the permit coverage has been canceled, the weekly inspection and monthly reporting requirements no longer have to be met. Copies of the weekly inspections and monthly reports must be kept for a minimum of three years after the Notice of Termination has been filed. We will retain these records for our clients for future reference, if needed.

Permanent Storm Water Structure Inspections and Maintenance

Routine monitoring of the site does not stop once the site has been stabilized and permit coverage has been cancelled. State regulations and some local ordinances require that if a permanent detention or retention pond is utilized on a site, this structure must be inspected and maintained on a regular basis. This is a fairly new requirement in most areas, but failure to comply with this could result in serious damage to your site or adjacent properties. These structures are installed in places that are often overlooked or neglected after the initial site construction is complete. Storm water ponds easily overtop sometimes due to something as simple as a plastic soda bottle or a dead tree limb clogging an orifice in an outlet structure. This may not seem like much of a problem, but when the pond overtops and floods a nearby home or causes the dam to begin to erode, then the problem becomes very evident, not to mention costly.

With an inspection and maintenance program in place, these potential problems can easily be detected and eliminated before they become problematic. Another item that is often overlooked is the removal of underbrush, trees, and mowing of the grass in and around ponds. These storm water management devices are designed to function in a certain manner and handle a specific volume of storm water runoff. If the vegetation is not mowed regularly and underbrush and tree growth is not controlled, the available volume decreases over time leading to ineffective control of storm water runoff. The pond bottom must also maintain a positive slope towards the outlet structure to prevent standing water from becoming a source for mosquito breeding.

Permanent water quality structures and devices are becoming more common as more emphasis is being placed on long term water quality. These types of treatment structures can include constructed wetlands, bioretention cells, forebays within ponds, precast in-line treatment devices, and prefabricated filter socks that can be used in yard inlets and catch basins. While these devices are very effective in treating water quality when they are maintained properly, they can be detrimental to the overall storm water management system if they are not maintained or replaced according to the manufacturer's recommendations. A clogged yard inlet or catch basin insert may create a flooding condition in a yard or parking lot while a clogged precast in-line treatment device may cause the entire storm drainage system to fill with water, thus leading to a number of potential problems.

We will inspect your permanent storm water management and water quality devices to ensure that they are working properly and will make recommendations as to any type of maintenance that needs to be performed. If necessary, we can assist our clients in making arrangements to have devices cleaned or repaired. Our ongoing inspections include, but are not limited to, the following permanent devices:

  • + Detention and retention ponds
  • + Storm drainage systems
  • + Precast in-line water quality treatment devices
  • + Yard inlet and catch basin inserts
  • + Created wetlands and vegetative buffer strips

Delegated Review Program Services

Carolina Storm Water Services, LLC works with local governments to assist with the implementation of the State delegated storm water program and with the Federal NPDES permitting requirements. We provide the following services to municipalities:

  • + Storm water and sediment and erosion control plan review and approval
  • + Erosion control site inspections
  • + Assistance with complying with the NPDES regulations that pertain to
  • + Regulated Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s)

We realize that it may not always be cost effective or feasible for small government agencies to hire or train the appropriate staff to review plans and conduct inspections of construction sites. However, if a municipality wants to handle the permitting and inspections of land disturbing activities at the local level, they must apply for delegation of the storm water program from the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control.

In order to become delegated, the requesting agency must have qualified plan reviewers and inspectors on staff or they must contract these responsibilities out to qualified individuals. Our qualified plan reviewers and inspectors will work on a contract basis with local governments to provide the services that they need in order to become delegated. This allows municipalities to have more control over development at the local level while utilizing qualified individuals to perform the required services. In many cases, the local government may only receive a very small number of land disturbance permit applications per year. This workload may not be enough to justify hiring a full-time staff engineer to conduct these plan reviews. In this type of situation, our staff engineers would conduct the plan reviews on an as-needed basis and make recommendations for approval or denial to the municipality.