Winter snow melt. The rainy season. Any way you slice it, it’s the wet time of year, which can have a huge impact on your construction site. You need to be able to deal with that water in an environmentally safe and legal way. One of the biggest issues is making sure the storm water runoff is not contaminated by the waste water generated by your portable restrooms.
The first question you probably have is if you even need the permit to cover your project in regard to the (NPDES). The NPDES permit program addresses water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants to waters of the United States. Created in 1972 by the Clean Water Act, the NPDES permit program is authorized to state governments by EPA to perform many permitting, administrative, and enforcement aspects of the program.
In general, the NPDES storm water program requires permits for discharges from construction activities that disturb one or more acres, and discharges from smaller sites that are part of a larger common plan of development or sale. Depending on the location of the construction site, either the state or EPA will administer the permit.
EPA and OSHA Regulations
Fortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has a handy flow chart to help you. This document does a very good job of quickly and easily helping you determine if you need coverage at all, just coverage for your state’s agency, or full EPA coverage.
EPA regulations state that you must have a secondary containment system for your portable restroom. Essentially, in the event that your portable restroom should leak waste, there must be something else in place to contain the matter. During the wet season, it is much harder to contain any potential runoff or overflow just because of the sheer volume of liquid that can find its way almost anywhere. What could be a minor trickle during a drier season could end up becoming a major polluting spill when water runoff is added to the equation.
The entire goal of containment is to prevent any hazardous materials from making their way into our water. After all, that water isn’t just used by us for drinking, but also a myriad of other uses such as bathing, cooking, and cleaning. Clean water is essential to health, which is why there are so many regulations surrounding it.
What Are Hazardous Materials?
The EPA and OSHA define a hazardous material as any material that is a physical or health hazard to people, plants, or animals. These materials can be released into the environment by spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, discharging, injecting, escaping, leaching, dumping, or disposing into the environment.
As for the containment system itself, the base under the container needs to be free of cracks or gaps and is impervious to contain leaks, spills and accumulated precipitation until the collected material is removed. The system must be designed to drain and remove liquids resulting from leaks, spills or precipitation, unless the containers are elevated or are otherwise protected from contact with accumulated liquids. Also, the containment system must have sufficient capacity to contain 10% of the volume of containers or the volume of the largest container, whichever is greater.
It is also very important that any waste that accidentally makes its way into the containment system must be removed in a timely fashion.
While the most important factor is keeping your worksite’s water clean is professional and reliable service for your temporary restrooms, the secondary containment system is also key. Your secondary containment system needs to be free of any damage or cracks, ensuring the liquid it’s supposed to contain stays inside. It also needs to make sure that no other contaminants can inside either. There are also rules concerning the timely servicing of the container, ensuring that it is never over-filled, which is why On Site’s reliable service is so essential.
Just because your worksite is extra wet doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be clean. With On Site, not only can we make sure you are in compliance with all the rules and regulations, we can also help you out with dehumidification as well. On Site Companies can be your one stop for temporary sanitation, complete with containment pans, as well as dehumidification and air movers. Make sure your job site is ready for the wet season this year! Give us a call today at 800-210-8407 and let us answer your questions.