Stormwater Case Studies Search Results
Case Study Location: Colorado: Douglas County
Case Study Title: A Comprehensive Erosion Control Permit Program
Minimum Control Measure: Construction site stormwater runoff control
Location: Colorado: Douglas County
Douglas County Public Works
Douglas County's new Grading, Erosion and Sediment Control Manual (hereafter referred to as the Manual) has streamlined the review and approval process for Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP), increasing the effectiveness of submitted plans and reducing the number of violations.
Under state law, Colorado may accept only SWPPPs developed by state-registered engineers or by qualified designers under the direct supervision of professional engineers.
Before a SWPPP is developed, the applicant and the applicant’s engineer are encouraged to conduct a presubmittal meeting with Douglas County staff. During the meeting, all parties discuss Douglas County ’s requirements, which helps accelerate the plan review and approval process.
Staff members and the applicant's engineer complete checklists contained in the Manual. Standard notes and references contained on the Program's website discuss each sediment and erosion control measure. Additionally, staff ensures that the applicant understands the initial and long-term costs of the best management practices (BMP).
After the presubmittal meeting, staff pre-reviews the SWPPP for completeness. The process takes about seven days. If incomplete, the application is returned to the applicant for revision. Staff members then conduct a 25-day-long comprehensive review of both the SWPPP and the completed permit application. Program staff members follow up with a second review of the corrected plan, a process lasting up to 25-days.
Once approved, Program staff approves the SWPPP and the applicant submits a permit fee of $250 plus $25 per acre of disturbance. The applicant also must post a fiscal security fee prior to scheduling the preconstruction meeting. The fee - a letter of credit or a cash deposit – is deposited in a non-interest bearing account for at least two years.
In contrast to a bond, Program staff members have found letters of credit or cash deposits convenient when remediation for excessive violations is necessary. Although rare, staff members have in the last two years used an applicant's security fee. One developer, for example, couldn't finish the project because he went bankrupt.
The Program employs three full-time grading, erosion and sediment control inspectors, six engineering inspectors, seven review engineers, a development review manager, environmental, drainage and stormwater management engineers, water quality technician, agreements technician, permits and inspections manager, and Director of Engineering Services.
To satisfy the Program's rigorous specifications, staff members conduct several types of inspections.
Applicants must pay a $50 re-inspection fee for missed appointments with Program inspectors, or for site violations requiring re-inspection. The fee offsets increased taxpayer costs resulting from multiple inspections of non-compliant sites. If issued a stop-work-order, the applicant must immediately correct the deficiencies, reapply for a GESC permit, and then repay the fee. If the applicant conducts on-site work without a valid Program permit, the applicant's permit fee triples. Chapter 5 of the GESC manual outlines all enforcement procedures.
The CSRC staff has seen significant reductions in review and plan-approval times. Many plans are now approved on their first submission. Staff members have also seen an increase in the comprehensiveness and effectiveness of submitted Program plans. And finally, staff members have seen violations drop significantly, a trend they attribute to the new GESC manual and the longevity of the program.
Additional Materials Related to this Case Study:
EPA presents this case study as an example to which Phase I and Phase II municipal stormwater programs can refer as they develop their own stormwater programs. Although EPA has reviewed the case studies, they should not be considered officially endorsed by the Agency and are not intended to represent full compliance with EPA’s stormwater Phase II minimum control measures. Each community must decide on the appropriate BMPs necessary to meet its unique permit requirements and local conditions.