Sediment (dirt and silt) is the most common pollutant washed from construction work sites, creating multiple problems once it enters the storm drain system. Sediment deposited in the storm drain system increases the risk of flooding by clogging channels and catch basins. Sediment also carries with it other work-site pollutants such as pesticides, cleaning solvents, cement residues, asphalt, and vehicle fluids like motor oil, grease and fuel. During a short period of time, construction sites can contribute more sediment to streams than can be deposited naturally during several decades. The resulting siltation, and the contribution of other pollutants from construction sites can cause physical, chemical, and biological harm to our nation’s waters. For example, excess sediment can quickly fill rivers and lakes, and destroy aquatic habitats.
On or before August 1, 2007, the members of the Partnership were required to implement a process similar to the City of Omaha’s Grading Permit process so that all construction sites in the watershed greater than one acre will be managed in a consistent manner. The City of Omaha’s Environmental Inspectors will provide construction site erosion control inspection activities throughout the watershed. Information on construction sites is now available to the public on the City’s web site OmahaPermix.com. The web site has information related to each permitted construction site, including the permit applicant, the design engineer, the grading company, and results of site inspections.
Currently, grading permits for all construction sites greater than one acre by the local zoning jurisdiction. Applicants are required to submit a stormwater pollution prevention plan. That application is subject to an engineering review to ensure that erosion control best management practices meet the design specifications provided in the City of Omaha Sediment and Erosion Control Manual. Construction sites are monitored with an inspection program. Project engineers are required to submit to the City the results of their site inspections. The City’s Environmental Inspectors review the reports and also complete their own site inspections.