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Stormwater Management


Learning objectives

  • Explain why facilities need to manage stormwater properly.

  • Explain some methods you should use to reduce the sources of stormwater pollution at your facility.

  • Describe how you should respond to a release of a polluting substance.

Course overview

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Urbanization increases the variety and amount of pollutants carried into our nation's waters. In urban and suburban areas, much of the land surface is covered by buildings, pavement and compacted landscapes with impaired drainage. These surfaces do not allow rain and snow melt to soak into the ground which greatly increases the volume and velocity of stormwater runoff.”

Stormwater enters our streams, rivers, lakes, and marshes after rain or snow melt through direct run-off from the adjacent ground surfaces and indirectly from other sources such as streets, lawns, roofs, industrial facilities, parking lots, and storage areas through storm drain discharge.

If stormwater run-off contains toxic or hazardous substances such as chemicals, petroleum products, pesticides, heavy metals, or other regulated contaminants, it can ultimately pollute our lakes, streams, and rivers.

To protect our water resources, the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) prohibits the discharge of toxic or hazardous stormwater run-off. Under the Clean Water Act, the EPA requires businesses and facilities to have a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater permit. In general, the NPDES stormwater permit regulates the run-off of stormwater from various types of industrial facilities and construction activities by setting limits on what can be discharged into the receiving waters of the United States.

An NPDES stormwater permit is required of all manufacturing facilities if material handling equipment or activities, raw materials, industrial chemicals, spills, wastes, or industrial processes are exposed to stormwater, unless the facility can demonstrate that stormwater exposure can be prevented. Permits are required even if stormwater run-off can be collected, evaluated, and pre-treated before discharge from the property.

To be in compliance with the NPDES stormwater permit, the EPA also requires your facility to prepare and implement a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) that will ensure that toxic or hazardous stormwater run-off originating in the facility does not discharge to the stormwater drainage system. The facility must also identify, control, or eliminate the sources of pollutants to stormwater.

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan

  • Identifies potential sources of pollution that are generated by the facility’s activities;

  • Describes the facility’s Best Management Practices (BMPs) to help prevent toxic; or hazardous stormwater run-off from reaching waterways

  • Must be unique to the facility;

  • Address how it conforms to stormwater pollution prevention;

  • Must comply with a set of general requirements.

Basic Elements of the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan

  • Individuals responsible for implementing, maintaining, and revising the plan;

  • An inventory and description of all exposed materials, tests for non-stormwater discharges, and evaluations of monitoring data;

  • Summary of pollutant sources and risks;

  • Baseline Best Management Practices (BMPs) for employee training and implementation;

  • A topographic and site layout map of the facility that locates surface water bodies, wells, seepage pits, and filtration ponds.

Best Management Practices

  • Good housekeeping measures

  • Preventive maintenance

  • Inspections

  • Sediment and erosion prevention

  • Materials management

  • Traditional stormwater management practices

  • Requirements for employee training

  • Spill prevention and response procedures

Good Housekeeping

  • Maintain a clean and orderly work area.

  • Immediately clean all minor spills and leaks with absorbent material and dispose of the material in containers according to the facility’s plan.

  • Store all hazardous materials and wastes in leak-proof containers that are properly labeled and tightly covered.

  • Use approved methods to recycle and dispose of waste chemicals.

  • Do not mix them or leave them abandoned for someone else to identify and deal with.

Fueling Vehicles and Equipment

  • Know the fuel capacity before filling your tanks.

  • Do not “top off” fuel tanks when transferring fuel.

  • Use drip pans to catch any leakage.

  • Use the spill kits provided at fueling locations.

  • Use absorbent materials to soak up even small spills and for general cleaning.

  • Remove absorbent materials immediately after fueling is completed.

  • Dispose of the material in a properly labeled container.

  • Keep dumpsters, bins, and other containers of materials covered.

  • Store debris, loose materials, scrap material, and material in temporary outdoor. storage off the ground or in containment areas that are covered.

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Mobile Ready

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20 min

Course Outline

Course Outline

  • Importance of Stormwater Management

  • Reducing Sources of Stormwater Pollution

  • Responding to a Release of a Polluting Substance



  • Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 USC 1251 to 1387

  • 40 CFR 122

  • 40 CFR 124

  • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES): 33 USC 1342

  • 29 CFR 1910.38 - Emergency Action Plans

  • 40 CFR 112 - SPCC Program


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