Storm Water Discharge Certification: What You Need to Know
By Dom Goble, PE – If your project is in the State of Montana (excluding Indian reservations) and will disturb one acre or more of soil and has the potential to discharge pollutants into state water, you will be required to obtain a General Permit for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Construction Activity from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). This General Permit allows you to discharge stormwater from your site.
A Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) must be developed as part of the General Permit requirements to obtain authorization to discharge stormwater from your site. The SWPPP must identify Best Management Practices (BMPs) to prevent pollution such as sediment from discharging from the site. The SWPPP also must specify a certified SWPPP Administrator who is responsible for managing the SWPPP.
I have developed and currently teach a training course to certify SWPPP Administrators throughout Montana throughout the year. To help give you a better idea about the training, the certification process, and the responsibilities of SWPPP Administrators, here are some responses to several frequently asked questions.
Q. What are the responsibilities of an SWPPP Administrator?
A. SWPPP Administrators’ responsibilities include developing and implementing an SWPPP by identifying BMPs to adequately prevent pollution from discharging from a construction site. The SWPPP Administrator performs routine inspections during construction activities to ensure the SWPPP is adequately preventing pollution from discharging from the site. The SWPPP administrator must maintain, revise, and update the SWPPP if it is no longer effective in preventing pollution from discharging from the site.
Q. When and how frequently should SWPPP Administrators conduct inspections?
A. SWPPP Administrators can choose between a weekly or biweekly inspection frequency to conduct their routine SWPPP inspections. Weekly inspections must be conducted at a minimum of once every seven calendar days. Biweekly inspections must be conducted at a minimum once every 14 calendar days and within 24 hours of a rainfall event of 0.25 inches or greater and within 24 hours of snowmelt that results in a discharge. The SWPPP Administrator must complete an inspection report within 24-hours of the routine inspection.
Q. How do you become a certified SWPPP Administrator?
A. You need to be trained by a provider who meets Montana DEQ’s requirements for SWPPP Administrator training. Morrison-Maierle and Montana Contractors’ Association (MCA) have partnered together to provide SWPPP Administrator training. DEQ has reviewed the Morrison-Maierle and MCA training curricula and acknowledges the training as meeting its minimum training requirements. Morrison-Maierle and the Montana Contractors Association (MCA) offer two-day certification and six-hour re-certification training. The training schedule can be found on MCA’s website.
Q. How long does a certification last?
A. A certification lasts for three years upon the date of completion of the training. You have up to six months after your certification expires to complete the re-certification for your certification to be considered valid. You will need to retake the certification training if your certification is more than six months expired.
Q. Who can become an SWPPP Administrator?
A. There are no requirements for registering for SWPPP Administrator training. However, it is recommended that you have a basic knowledge of BMPs and are familiar with stormwater pollution prevention measures.
Q. Can you let someone who is not certified conduct the inspections but have a certified SWPPP Administrator sign off on an inspection report?
A. No, SWPPP inspections can only be performed by SWPPP Administrators whose certification is still valid. You will be in violation of the General Permit if you allow individuals who are not certified to perform SWPPP inspections.
Dominic Goble, PE, is a water-wastewater engineer in Morrison-Maierle’s Missoula office. He has used his experience as a SWPPP Administrator to offer training throughout Montana since 2015.