Soil excavation and grading operations often contribute to urban runoff pollution. By loosening large amounts of soil and sediment, earthmoving activities can cause sediment to flow into gutters and storm drains. Sediment is the most common pollutant washed from construction sites, creating multiple problems once it enters the Las Vegas Wash. Sediment carries with it other construction site pollutants such as pesticides, cleaning solvents, cement wash, asphalt and car fluids like motor oil, grease and fuel. Thus, poorly maintained vehicles and heavy equipment leaking fuel and oil at the construction site also contribute to water pollution. As a contractor, site supervisor, owner or operator of a site, you may be held responsible for the environmental damage caused by your subcontractors or employees. Heavy equipment BMPs can help your company reduce stormwater pollution.
The State of Nevada requires a stormwater permit for all soil disturbing activities (including grading, trenching, demolition), where one (1) or more acres will be disturbed, and have a discharge of stormwater to a receiving water (e.g., wetlands, creeks, unnamed creeks, rivers, marine waters, ditches, estuaries), and/or storm drains that discharge to a receiving water. If you plan on retaining all stormwater on site, but detention facilities need to be constructed to retain the stormwater, permit coverage is required.
To learn more about the State of Nevada's procedures for obtaining a construction stormwater permit, click here
Clean up leaks, drips and other spills immediately. This will prevent contaminated soil or residue on paved surfaces. Never hose down "dirty" pavement or surfaces where materials have spilled. Use dry cleanup methods whenever possible. Report significant oil or fuel spills to the appropriate spill response agencies immediately. Use the telephone numbers provided here to report significant spills, illegal dumping, or clogged catch basins.
If a hazardous material has been a spilled, do not hose down the spill. Take immediate action to prevent the spread of the material and protect nearby storm drains. Contact your local fire department for guidance.
Keep sediment from leaving the construction site. Install silt fencing around the construction site where required. Apply gravel bags or berms to protect storm drain inlets down gradient from site. Do not wash down paved streets or sidewalks. Periodically street sweep or vacuum sediment from paved roads. Keep materials out of the rain. Cover exposed piles of soil or construction materials with plastic sheeting or temporary roofs.
To learn more about BMPs for general construction click here.
After clearing, grading or excavating, exposed soil poses a clear and immediate danger to the stormwater system. Re-vegetation (permanent or temporary) is an excellent form of erosion control for any site. Avoid excavation and grading activities during wet weather. Construct diversion dikes to channel runoff around the site. Line channels with grass or roughened pavement to reduce runoff velocity.
Cover stockpiles and excavated soil with secured tarps or plastic sheeting. Remove existing vegetation only when absolutely necessary. Large projects should be conducted in phases. Consider planting temporary vegetation for erosion control on slopes or where construction is not immediately planned. Plant permanent vegetation as soon as possible, once excavation and grading activities are complete.
Maintain all vehicles and heavy equipment. Inspect frequently for leaks. Conduct all vehicle/equipment maintenance and refueling at one location--away from storm drains. Perform major maintenance, repair jobs and vehicle/equipment washing off-site. Use gravel approaches where truck traffic is frequent to reduce soil compaction and limit the tracking of sediment into streets.
Use drip pans or drop cloths to catch drips and spills, if you drain and replace motor oil, radiator coolant or other fluids on-site. Collect all used fluids, store in separate containers and recycle whenever possible. Do not use diesel oil to lubricate equipment or parts.
Designate one area for auto parking, vehicle refueling and routine equipment maintenance. The designated area should be well away from gutters or storm drains. Make all major repairs off-site. Make sure portable toilets are in good working order. Check frequently for leaks. Use as little water as possible for dust control.
Sweep up dry spilled materials immediately. Never attempt to bury them or "wash them away" with water.
Clean up spills on dirt areas by digging up and properly disposing of contaminated soil. Report significant oil or fuel spills to the appropriate spill response agencies immediately. Use the telephone numbers provided here to report significant spills, illegal dumping, or clogged catch basins.
Clean up leaks, drips and other spills immediately. This will prevent contaminated soil or residue on paved surfaces. Never hose down "dirty" pavement or surfaces where materials have spilled. Use dry cleanup methods whenever possible.
For disposal instructions, call the Nevada Small Business Development Center, Business Environmental Program at 1-800-882-3233.