Construction development involves a variety of regulations to warrant that environmental impacts are both minimal and resolution long lasting. Initially, these appear to be constradictory. Environmental impacts are a current and growing international concern considering we all live on this one borrowed planet and the need to ensure we leave it better prepared for future generations is extremely critical.
Sound expensive and tedious? It can be, but does not need to be with effective planning, training and corporate buy - in. Many entities attempt to mitigate their environmental obligations through 'willful blindness' or manipulating their interpretations of a rule to dodge the associated cost, potential liabilities and additional attention and effort. However, such rule manipulation and avoidance will not only increase financial repercussions, but also long - term environmental impact. Check you nearest public waterway. Is it clean? Would you let your kids play in it? If not, consider how your current company culture and understanding of environmental safeguards impacts your answer to those questions.
In accordance with the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the 2017 Construction General Permit (CGP) which provides the regulating requirements for authorized construction activities to discharge pollutants from a site. Any development involving land displacement over one acre must adhere to the criteria outlined in the CGP.
When preparing new bid and awarding new projects, local and state agencies will write project contracts to push CGP responsibilities and liabilities solely onto the awarded recipient. They do so with the belief they are protecting the awarding agency from any liability for non - compliance and the resulting monetary penalty. The CGP, however, is federal law and clearly defines the entities on the hook: Operators. Discretely, Operators are those entities which either 1) have operational control over construction plans and specifications, and have the ability to change those specifications or designs (e.g. Owners), or 2) have day - to - day control over site operations and compliance (e.g. Contractors). If a project has multiple Operators, all are equally liable for any issues of non - compliance.
The liability burden cannot be transitioned to a developer, contractor, inspector, or builder through the contract between the participating parties. Essentially, the CGP supersedes any agreements between the involved personnel or groups. If the EPA comes to call, every Operator is responsible for executing the CGP requirements, and every Operator is responsible when violations occur.
Low Erosivity Waiver
Another potential example of manipulation involves the dates set for a project timeline. With any construction project a specific start and completion date are established well in advance of any production. These help both for planning purposes and as a potential incentive depending on the contract between the contracting parties, especially if any benefits are established for a quicker completion.
Unfortunately, some entities may try to change these dates in an effort to qualify for a Low Erosivity Waiver (LEW). By receiving a LEW the Operators may forego the CGP requirements. What a great way to save a buck! Nope. Attempting to manipulate project characteristics (acerage, contract duration, etc.) for the perception of meeting LEW specifications, when in fact it does not meet the initially regulated and appropriate standards, will subject the Operators to a host of violations and subsequent penalties.
Following are some other key benefits to proper adherence of the CGP over any attempted manipulation.
Less Inherent Risk
Appropriate considerations made to comply with a permit is considerably less risky than otherwise ignoring the mandate. As stated, the permit is essentially regulatory law with many characteristics and details pertained within to ensure a sound construction project and appropriate future environmental considerations when and where applicable.
The CGP offers considerable latitude to help Operators comply with it while minimizing the cost where possible. The incentive to comply is supported by low impact compliance methods incorporated into the CGP. Contracts are important but the inherent risk associated with an inability or unwillingness to follow the permit is cause for concern.
Defense of Action
The specifics of the CGP allow any and all actions in line with the regulation to be defended should potential questions arise regarding the project or its completion. It is a detailed guide and provides clear descriptions of appropriate measures and practices needed to support a foundation for successful execution.
Any move necessitated by the CGP is then easily legitimized as opposed to having orchestrated an approach reliant on the assumptions of actions taken over time by other involved parties or your own. All steps and procedures, including potential action is regulated specifically by the demands of the CGP.
Intent to Comply
Accepting the CGP and its requirements into project planning demonstrates an intenty to comply. Regularly addressing and resolving issues of non - compliance further reinforces each Operators' intent to perform. Projects involving multiple Operators require a collective buy - in to fulfull this intent. For these occurrences, making sure the permit is strictly enforced and relied upon to move forward from the beginning sends a positive message of compliance and consideration for a job well done.
Instead of executing what could be perceived devious manipulations to a project, all involved parties can rest easy and feel better knowing the guidelines are being followed and no shortcuts will be attempted regardless of the potential capabilities of such action.
is committed to meaningful construction narratives and procedures, following established protocol and providing professional opinions where necessary. Our experts can and are happy to discuss any construction measures and their potential impact on the environment. E2RC is committed to the following four primary principles in an effort to confirm each effort confidently meets the registered goal of all involved parties.
- We are a partnership focused with very profitable results for every member as the measure of the relationship.
- We follow the golden rule.
- We THINK and ACT with intention and purpose.
- We believe in candor and honesty.
E2RC is the leading expert in stormwater compliance and site management. Any and all of your questions regarding what impact new or additional construction may have in regards to the surrounding environment can be readily addressed by one or a team of our willing and ready professionals. Contact us at 505-867-4040 or fill out a form request