Keeping Construction Practices Stormwater Friendly
There are many construction activities that can harm area waterways. Construction may result in erosion of soils, tracking of onsite material, release of harmful pollutants, and flow obstruction of natural waterways, among other things. It is a violation of local, state and federal laws to perform construction activities resulting in harmful effects to our waterways. These laws are meant not to preclude construction, but to protect our natural water resources.
At the bottom of this page, there are important links to the City of Menasha's Construction Site Erosion Control ordinance and to the permit forms and information sheets that will help ensure an environmentally-friendly worksite. Also, there are a few other helpful web pages listed, including information on best management practices for construction sites, all designed to ensure the health of our local waterways.
Construction Site Information
Construction can put a significant amount of sediment and other harmful pollutants, such as concrete washout, into our local waterways. Sediment acts to obstruct natural flow resulting in warmer water temperatures and limits to the variety of water life. Pollutants can be harmful to aquatic resources and lower the overall quality of receiving waters.
One particular ongoing example of a damaging construction practice is the washout of concrete trucks on a construction site. Concrete truck washout is very harmful to the environment and water sources due to the high pH level of the washout discharge. Therefore it is important to never discharge the concrete waste into or upstream from storm drains allowing it to flow untreated into receiving lakes and rivers. See this brochure for proper alternatives for this activity.
There are many tools and practices to help prevent pollution from construction sites. Following are three of the most common.
Construction Site Erosion Control Ordinance
The purpose of the Construction Site Erosion Control ordinance is to preserve the natural resources; to protect the quality of the waters of the State and City; and to protect and promote the health, safety and welfare of the people, to the extent practicable by minimizing the amount of sediment and other pollutants carried by runoff or discharge from construction sites to lakes, streams and wetlands.
Prior to the start of construction, each project is required to have a construction site erosion plan approved by the Public Works Department. This plan shall include, at a minimum, methods of reducing
total suspended solids and controlling sediment, such as preventing untreated discharge into the storm drains.
The Department of Public Works will respond to a permit request within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the complete permit, unless additional information is needed. The permit requires notification to the Public Works Department at least 48 hours prior to start of construction, the installation of Best Management Practices (BMP) identified in the plan, inspection of the site after a ½” rain fall or weekly at a minimum, and site access for the Public Works Department to ensure compliance with the control plan.
To see other requirements and the full ordinance, please see the Menasha Construction Site Erosion Control Ordinance
Additional information: Erosion control information (NEWSC)
Post-Construction Storm Water Management
Construction site practices have potential to harm the environment even after construction is completed. Uncontrolled post-construction runoff can reduce the quality of the groundwater, altering the water flow and increase erosion. Ultimately, these effects can harm human health and welfare, as well as the environment. The City of Menasha created this ordinance to help prevent further harm.
This ordinance requires that BMPs will be installed and maintained to control the amount of total suspended solids, control the amount of peak discharge and infiltrate runoff, if practicable.
The Department of Public Works will respond to a permit request within twenty (20) business days of the receipt of the complete permit, unless additional information is needed. The permit requires notification of the Public Works Department at least 5 business days prior to starting work and of any proposed changes. It also authorizes the Public Works Department to perform any necessary corrective work or delegate it to the responsible party.
To see all of the requirements and the full ordinance, please click here.
Rain gardens are another great way of helping stop stormwater pollution. A rain garden is a shallow depression that is planted with native plants. They help absorb stormwater before it reaches the storm drains and pollute our lakes. Rain gardens look great and help stop pollution. You can read more about them and how to build one here.
Other Helpful Webpages:
Construction Industry Compliance Assistance Useful information for contractors.
National Menu of Stormwater Best Management Practices