California Stormwater and Erosion Control Industry Changes

California Stormwater and Erosion Control Industry Changes

In July, the State Water Resources Control Board fined the City of San Diego $4.6 million for non-compliance on stormwater, erosion and sedimentation control measures.

Next year, the State Water Board will issue an update to the California Construction General Permit that will completely change the rules for how construction sites and companies deal with stormwater- and erosion-related discharges into bodies of water. Currently, the permit rules attempt to curtail stormwater runoff and erosion that dislodge pieces of earth that can affect fish gills, beaches and water color (browning). The current permitting program has been administratively extended year after year since 2009.

While the Construction General Permit update specifics are unknown, the changes will be the first major set of changes of the Water Board under its new executive director, Eileen Sobeck. Sobeck, who joined the board after the Labor Day holiday weekend, will effectively oversee changes to the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) that regulates all potential pollutants.

These SWPPP regulations have become so complicated that many San Diego builders, developers, and construction firms now need the expertise of construction management firms with stormwater compliance experience to help navigate municipal codes and develop, implement and oversee stormwater- and erosion-control best management practices (BMPs) as licensed qualified SWPPP developers (QSDs) and qualified SWPPP practitioners (QSPs). It is quite possible that the update will serve as another complication that will increase this business trend.

Since the San Diego construction industry began booming after 2010, which was stymied by the Great Recession, many construction firms have seen an abundance of growth as QSDs and QSPs.  San Diego firm KCM Group, which is currently responsible for managing the Plaza de Panama Balboa Park project, is currently managing nearly 40 projects (as a QSP and QSD) that require stormwater and erosion-compliance.

Erika Horn – Senior Environmental Compliance Manager at KCM Group

At KCM Group Erika serves as an experienced environmental compliance manager, who specializes in environmental compliance programs for land development. Erika coordinates and provides specialized storm water training for land development personnel, construction superintendents and sub-contractors. Erika is a QSP, QSD, Certified Erosion Sediment and Storm Water Inspector (CESSWI) and a Certified Professional of Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC). Erika is active in the California Storm Water Quality Association (CASQA), the Building Industry Association (BIA) and the International Erosion Control Association (IECA). She currently serves on the San Diego BIA’s Storm Water Task Force.