Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 29 seconds
Why of course I am the responsible person, I am responsible for everything. whether it goes right or wrong, my name is on the bottom line.
Turns out it also is the term given to the licensed person who is “responsible” for keeping sediment from entering our street drains and ultimately our waterways. The class is several hours and is given to folks like remodelers and excavators who run a high risk of inadvertently spoiling our rivers.
Boise takes this seriously and, unlike the RRP lead based paint rule, these regulations are un-funded by the EPA but mandated by the permit the city has with the EPA. A real person named Clint Smith (Boise City Erosion Control Inspector) does regular inspections and also roam the streets looking for compliance (or lack of) and stops in to say “Hi.”
We just had one such visit, and despite our very clean job site, Clint admonished us to take more precautions…just in case. Naturally, he lives lives in a “worst case scenario” world, which is a good thing. Clint says “violations of the rule will ultimately result in a STOP WORK order if negligence is encountered, or until the problem is remedied. In the worst cases civil penalties can be assessed as well.”
The EPA is all about keeping the sludge and soil out of the drains, they are less concerned about how you do it or what tricks or materials you use. Each technique or materials have their pros and cons. All the EPA cares about is results! They also demand that their requirements are followed. How we get to achieving our results is by using “Best Practices” How cool is that? The way I see it, the bar is constantly being raised.
At the local supply store there are all sorts of things to add to our arsenal of tricks. We ended up using a Witch’s Hat. (a strong black felt liner designed to trap stuff without obstructing water flow). We also bought a cool roll of green waddle, used to stop flowing debris but allow water to cruise on through. Straw waddles used to be all the rage but they attract mice and fall apart after a month or so, and are not really reusable where ours are. Silt fences are also commonly used but have their problems with sudden failure too.
There are many other options for sediment control. We see scrubby pads zip locked to metal grates to keep chunk debris out, and there are as many grate covers as there are hours in a week. We will continue to protect our waterways and be alert if we see others breaking the rules.
According to Clint, “Track out” is the biggest offender at the moment. That is when trucks entering or existing a project leave “Tracks” away from the job site. Number two is “Wash out,” improperly washing out cement trucks, masons, stucco, and latex paints on the job site.
Other big offenders are the big excavation firms doing hillside work and developers not having the proper plans in place or following the federal guidelines. Clint says”Look for the EPA to come down hard on developers and the construction industry in general, as the seasons turn.” There is an engineering firm we’ve used in town that will develop an erosion control plan for a fee. It essentially goes over the worst case scenario and helps you pick the materials and best practices to deal with the problems.
The bottom line is that Levco is staying on the cutting edge of respecting our environment with strong oversight from our federal and city officials.