The LSU AgCenter and the Louisiana Local Technical Assistance Program are teaming up to offer a series of workshops on federal regulations concerning the control of storm-water runoff and pollution from small construction sites.
The workshops, which focus on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Small Construction Site Storm Water Program, will be conducted in late March and early April.
"These workshops are recommended for local government and public works officials responsible for permitting and oversight of construction activities within their jurisdictions," said LSU AgCenter water quality specialist Dr. Rod Hendrick. "Contractors, developers and operators of such sites also should attend."
The workshops will be offered March 18 in Slidell, March 23 in Port Allen, March 24 in Jefferson, March 30 in Alexandria, March 31 in Bossier City, April 1 in Ruston, April 6 in Sulphur and April 7 in Lafayette.
The EPA program, which went into effect on March 10, 2003, requires that operators of any construction activity that will disturb 1 acre to 5 acres of soil surface, including highway and roadway work, develop and implement a storm-water control and pollution prevention plan. Larger construction sites already were required to control storm-water runoff.
"The EPA rule requires that landowners, engineers, contractors or agents develop the storm-water plant prior to disturbing the soil," Hendrick explained, adding, however, that agricultural and forest activities such as harvesting and planting are exempted from the rules.
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality has been charged with responsibility for overseeing the program in the state, Hendrick said.
A storm-water control and pollution prevention plan must show the measures that will be taken to minimize erosion on the site and to prevent pollution from other sources from leaving the site.
Hendrick said the workshops will cover compliance aids, information sources and methods for erosion control. Requirements for local management and oversight of the program also are included, he said.
In addition, representatives of the state Department of Environmental Quality will discuss the agency’s role in the permitting and enforcement process and will be available to answer questions regarding the program during the workshops. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will present information on erosion control methods and practices.
"This program affects all small construction sites statewide," Hendrick said, adding, "Initial oversight of the program will be at the local level."
Hendrick said parishes and towns that are included in the Storm Water Phase I and Phase II programs have construction and post-construction storm-water control objectives in their Storm Water Management Plans and may have specific requirements. Urbanized areas designated as Small MS4s also are included in this program, he said, adding that contractors, owners or operators should consult the local permitting agency before beginning a construction project or if an active project was begun after March 10, 2003.
Hendrick, who is a professor in the LSU AgCenter’s W.A. Callegari Environmental Center, will be the principal instructor for the workshop. He has worked on water quality issues with the AgCenter for the past 13 years – concentrating on non-point source pollution – and is a graduate of the University of California at Riverside who worked at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and in private business before joining the AgCenter faculty. Personnel from other state and federal agencies also will provide technical information during the workshops.
For additional information on the Small Construction Site Storm Water Program, visit www.lsuagcenter.com/compost/stormwaterconstruction.asp.
To register for the workshops or obtain additional information about them, contact the LTAP Center at (225) 767-9117 or (800) 595-4722. Registration forms and information on workshop locations also are available at www.ltrc.lsu.edu/ltap_course_construction.html.