1. What permit is applicable to my site?
There are two permits that might be applicable to a land disturbance site. Both are only applicable for sites larger than one acre. If the site is greater than an acre in size and on Tribal Land, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Construction General Permit is applicable. If the site is greater than an acre and on any land other than Tribal Land, the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) Construction General Permit is applicable.Please be aware that if your site contains land on both Tribal and Non-Tribal Lands, both permits are applicable and must be obtained before any work is done.
2. What agency can inspect my site?
Depending upon which permit is applicable, either the NDDoH or the (EPA), or both, may inspect a site. The NDDoH can only inspect sites that are permitted by the NDDoH. The EPA can inspect sites permitted by the EPA or the NDDoH. If the EPA does an inspection on an NDDoH permitted site, it will inspect the site for compliance with the NDDoH permit.
3. What does a regulatory agency want to see during an inspection?
An inspector will ask to look at all the documentation required by the permit (Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), copy of the permit, inspection logs, maintenance records, SWPPP changes, Site Map, etc.). They will also want to view the entire site to see if the Best Management Practices (BMPs) are installed as they are listed in the SWPPP and to ensure no sediment has been allowed to leave the site.
4. Isn’t the contractor the responsible party?
The contractor is considered the operator of the site and as such is responsible for the day to day activities on the site, such as updating the SWPPP, conducting inspections and maintaining BMPs. The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) is considered the owner of the permit and is responsible for making sure the operator is complying with the permit. If violations are found, the owner and the operator are jointly responsible.
5. What is the MOA with the Health Department?
The MOA is a Memorandum of Agreement between the NDDOT and the NDDoH that lays out the responsibilities of the NDDOT and its contractors in regards to Construction Permits.
6. Is a SWPPP required on all projects?
No. A SWPPP is only required when a permit is required. A SWPPP is recommended on all sites to help ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act.
7. What is an acceptable SWPPP?
An acceptable SWPPP meets all the requirements of the applicable permit. The contractor should have a working copy of the SWPPP on the site at all times, making sure it reflects the exact conditions of the site at the time. A SWPPP can be a very lengthy document. If the SWPPP is relatively small (just a few pages), it more than likely is not adequate.
8. What paperwork is required to be onsite during construction?
The SWPPP, inspection logs, copy of the Notice of Intent, copy of the coverage letter (if applicable), maintenance records, Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure plan (if applicable), and a copy of the permit. Please see the current applicable permit for a more updated list.
9. When should the SWPPP be updated?
The SWPPP should be updated whenever there is a change onsite in design, construction, operations, or maintenance of any BMP or anything that will affect the BMPs. If in doubt, update!
10. Can the erosion and sediment controls in the plans or SWPPP be changed?
Yes. Erosion and sediment controls may need to be changed depending upon site conditions and weather conditions. If something in the plans or the SWPPP is not working, a change should be made. Please be aware that any change in BMP will require an update to the SWPPP.
11. Who is responsible for the inspections required by the permit?
According to the Spec Book, the contractor is required to conduct all inspections required by the applicable permit. The NDDOT is responsible for ensuring the contractor is conducting these inspections.
12. What is the difference between erosion controls and sediment controls?
Erosion controls are used to prevent soil from dislodging while sediment controls are used to remove sediment from water.
13. What is the difference between temporary and permanent BMPs?
Temporary BMPs are installed at the beginning or during a project and are generally removed to make room for permanent controls. Permanent controls are installed on areas that have completed earth work, are not removed, and are installed so they require little to no maintenance.
14. What is an acceptable BMP?
An acceptable BMP is one that controls erosion or sediment without causing secondary pollution such as water contamination, etc.
15. Are the BMPs in the plans the only ones that can be used?
No. With the Project Engineer’s approval, other BMPs can be substituted if needed. Please be aware that any change in BMP will require an update to the SWPPP.
16. Is keeping sediment from leaving the right of way enough?
No. Sensitive areas such as wetlands are sometimes located inside the right of way and must be protected. Also, it is much easier to prevent erosion than it is to remove sediment from water. Installing and maintaining erosion controls on disturbed areas as soon as possible is key in preventing erosion.
17. When must you temporarily stabilize an area of the site?
For the NDDoH permit, all areas within 200 lineal feet of surface water and with a continuous positive slope must be stabilized within 21 days of temporarily or permanently ceasing earth moving operations. For the EPA permit, if you are going to cease work in an area for more than 14 days, temporary stabilization must be initiated within 24 hours and completed before the end of the 14 days.
18. Is it practical to mobilize erosion and sediment control subs multiple times?
All appropriate action must be taken to meet the requirements of the applicable permit. If that means frequent mobilizations for erosion and sediment control, then that must be done.
19. What authority does the NDDOT have for enforcing erosion and sediment control on private land?
If the area is covered by NDDOT’s Construction Permit, it, as the owner of the permit, has a right to require installation and maintenance of erosion and sediment controls. NDDOT’s construction easement gives it the right to do this and it has a responsibility to meet the requirements of its permit. At the end of a project, if a private land owner does not wish to have NDDOT install permanent erosion and sediment controls on an active site on his or her land, then NDDOT should modify its SWPPP to not include that area in its project and inform the land owner of his or her responsibility to obtain his or her own permit for that area.
20. What is required to terminate the permit?
All areas that were disturbed during the course of the project must be stabilized with either impervious surfaces or perennial vegetation. If perennial (having a life cycle lasting more than two years) vegetation is used, it must cover 100% of the disturbed area with a density of 70%. These numbers are of pre-existing vegetation, so if the area was not completely vegetated before, it does not have to be completely vegetated to terminate the permit. Through the MOA with the NDDoH, the NDDOT is allowed to install enough permanent BMPs and seed to provide this level of vegetation within three years and have a permit terminated. This only applies to the NDDoH permit.
21. What if the NDDOT releases the contractor before terminating the permit? Who is responsible?
The NDDOT becomes the sole permittee for any active permit where it has released the contractor until the permit is terminated or a new contractor is placed under contract.
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