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Proposed Guidelines to Control Pollution from Construction Sites

Release Date: 11/19/2008
Contact Information: Enesta Jones, (202) 564-4355 / jones.enesta@epa.gov

(Washington, D.C. – Nov. 19, 2008) EPA is seeking comments on its proposed guidelines to control the discharge of pollutants from construction sites. The proposal would require all construction sites to implement erosion and sediment control best management practices to reduce pollutants in stormwater discharges.

"This proposal builds a foundation for cleaner streams and greener neighborhoods through improved treatment technologies and prevention practices," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, EPA’s assistant administrator for water.

In addition, for certain large sites located in areas of the country with high rainfall intensity and soils with a high clay content, stormwater discharges from the construction site would be required to meet a numeric limit on the allowable level of turbidity, which is a measure of sediment in the water. In order to meet the proposed numeric turbidity limit, many sites would need to treat and filter their stormwater discharges.

Construction activities such as clearing, excavating and grading significantly disturb the land. The disturbed soil, if not managed properly, can easily be washed off the construction site during storms and enter streams, lakes, and other waters. Stormwater discharges from construction activities can cause an array of physical, chemical and biological impacts.

Sediment is one of the leading causes of water quality impairment nationwide, including reducing water depth in small streams, lakes and reservoirs.

Information on the proposal: http://www.epa.gov/ost/guide/construction/