Zoning and Building Safety Department
COMMON PROBLEMS FOUND DURING INSPECTIONS
The following are problems commonly found during inspections of construction sites:
- No temporary or permanent cover. Areas that have exposed soil and are not part of the active construction activity should have temporary erosion control cover. Areas that are at final grade should receive permanent cover as soon as possible.
- No sediment controls on-site. Sediment control practices (e.g., silt fences, sediment traps/basins) must be in place before land disturbing activities occur.
- No sediment control for temporary stockpiles. Temporary stockpiles must have perimeter controls and cannot be placed in waterways or runoff conveyance systems, including curb and gutter systems.
- No inlet protection. All storm drain inlets that receive runoff from the construction site must be protected before construction activities begin, and this protection must be maintained until the site is stabilized.
- No BMPs to minimize vehicle tracking on to the road. Vehicle exits must have BMPs such as stone pads or concrete or steel wash racks to prevent vehicle tracking of sediment. If BMPs are not adequately keeping sediment off the street, then tracked sediment may need to be removed and the entrance/exit protection redesigned or repaired to improve its effectiveness.
- Improper solid waste or hazardous materials management. To minimize the impacts of spills and leaks, solid waste must be disposed of in designated containers, and hazardous materials (including gasoline, oil, and paint) must be properly stored to prevent transport in rainfall and in runoff.
- Dewatering at the construction site. Dewatering from building footings or other construction site sources should not be discharged without treatment. Also turbid water should be filtered or allowed to settle before being discharged from the site.
- Poorly maintained BMPs. Site controls are only as effective as the operation and maintence. Inspectors should ensure that BMPs identified on site plans are not only installed, but that records exist documenting inspections and maintenance as appropriate. In some instances, poorly maintained BMPs actually increase erosion rates at a site.
All construction sites will be evaluated after rainstorms. These are some typical areas to evaluated:
- Inspect perimeter controls and slopes. The inspector will examine all perimeter controls (such as silt fences) to determine whether they are adequate for the drainage area they were designed to treat, and that they have been properly installed and maintained. The structural integrity of the BMP will be checked to determine whether portions of the BMP need to be replaced. Slopes and temporary stockpiles will be inspected to determine if sediment and erosion controls are effective; look for signs of slumps or rills, as well as tracking of stockpiled materials to other parts of the site.
- Compare BMPs in the site plan with the construction site conditions. The inspector will determine whether BMPs are in place as specified in the site plan and evaluate whether those BMPs have been adequately installed and maintained. Document any potential violations and their location and look for areas where additional BMPs are needed that are not specified in the site plan.
- Inspect site entrances/exits. Inspect the vehicle construction entrance/exit and surrounding streets to determine if there has been excessive tracking of sediment from the site. Look for evidence of additional areas where vehicles are entering or exiting that are not on the site plan and are not stabilized.
- Inspect sediment controls. Inspect sediment basins and look for signs that sediment has accumulated beyond one-third to one-half the original capacity of the basin. If so, document that maintenance is required.
- Inspect pollution prevention and good housekeeping practices. Inspect trash areas and material storage and staging areas to ensure that materials are properly maintained and that pollutant sources are not exposed to rainfall or runoff. Where applicable, verify that concrete washouts are being used properly and are correctly sized for the volume of washwater generated at the site. Inspect vehicle/equipment fueling and maintenance areas for the presence of spill control measures and for evidence of leaks or spills.
- Inspect discharge points and downstream, off-site areas. Inspect all discharge points and downstream areas to determine if erosion and sediment control practices are effective in preventing offsite impacts. Walk down the street if necessary to look for evidence of discharges from the site. This is particularly important in areas with existing curb and gutter. Inspect down-slope catch basins to determine whether they are adequately protected, and identify whether sediment buildup has occurred. The inspector will document any violations or evidence of offsite impacts on the inspection form and with photographs.
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