Credit: SCS Engineers

This construction site includes outfall protection with rip-rap. Slope stabilization techniques had to be used to construct a proper outfall. Outfalls should be constructed so that they do not increase erosion.

An SWPPP must be implemented at the appropriate level to protect water quality at all times throughout the life of a construction project or ongoing activities at an industrial site. The plan should remain onsite while the site is under construction, commencing with the initial mobilization and ending with the termination of coverage under the construction permit. ASWPPPfor an industrial site should be kept in a fully accessible place such as the maintenance or supervisor's office so inspectors can easily access the SWPPP for review. The SWPPP's documents are dynamic and should be reviewed often and updated when significant changes occur at the site.

Each year a comprehensive evaluation of site compliance should be conducted by inspecting all drainage areas, evaluating good housekeeping measures, observing structural measures, and comparing analytical results to guideline numeric values. If needed, a plan should be revised within two weeks of inspection, and changes should be implemented within 12 weeks. A report of all findings should be prepared, signed, and submitted to the appropriate regional agency; a copy should be kept with the plan.

Records of all inspections, changes to activities or operations, training, and BMP upgrades should be maintained for at least three years. Any change related to a facility's design, construction, or maintenance will necessitate changes in the plan.


Municipal permits are adopted by the local water quality enforcement agency and may have regional differences depending on land use. However, the permits involve the same basic approaches as the construction and industrial permits. This type of permit asks local jurisdictions to identify their storm-water conveyance systems, curb inlets, industrial facilities, various construction projects, high-density areas, open spaces, and any biologically sensitive areas. A municipality may use a geographic information system or other computer-based system to keep track of maintenance, BMP operation, and areas with the potential to affect its conveyance system.

A city, through its public works department, also must conduct community outreach and public education on issues affecting stormwater. Brochures and/or public service announcements should be provided to industrial facilities and anyone requesting a construction permit or business license. In addition, municipal employees, contractors, and code-enforcement inspectors must be trained to be aware of issues related to SWPPPs.

— Ralph Vasquez is a senior regulatory compliance specialist and head of the Stormwater Compliance Group with the San Diego office of SCS Engineers.