Phase I & II SPDES Construction Inspection Program
Rochester, NY

Grantee: Monroe County Soil & Water conservation District
Basin Program Funds: $30,000
Non-federal Funds: $10,430
Project Duration: 07/2003 - 10/2004
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Demand for municipal services has risen over the past decade due to increases in suburban populations while local municipal officials have substantially decreased staff due to budget cuts. The time and energy required to complete field inspections to determine construction site compliance with newer regulations under Phase II of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program is a concern. In will increase staff workloads in most municipalitiesí in Monroe County who are already exceeding their maximum workloads.

In 1972, the NPDES program was established under the authority of the Clean Water Act. Phase I of the NPDES stormwater program was established in 1990 and required NPDES permit coverage for large or medium municipalities that had populations of 100,000 or more. The Phase II program extends permit coverage to smaller communities (with populations under 100,000) and public entities that own or operate a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4).

As of January 2003, Phase II Stormwater NPDES Regulations are in force in New York State. They are being regulated through the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) General Permit. The EPA approved Stormwater Permitting Authority in New York State is the Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). This permit will require small municipal storm sewer systems (MS4s) (30 in Monroe County) to inspect and enforce construction phase erosion and sediment controls (ESC) to determine compliance with Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs).

Construction site erosion is a significant source of sediment and other NPS pollutants. Studies have shown soil erosion from construction sites without proper ESC practices in place can average between 20-200 tons/acre/year. This is ten to twenty times greater than typical soil losses on agricultural lands. The Rochester Embayment of Lake Ontario has been identified by the International Joint Commission (IJC) as one of 42 areas of concern around the Great Lakes that require further actions to protect and improve water quality. Monroe County, in partnership with the NYSDEC, prepared Stage I and Stage II Remedial Action Plan (RAP) documents to identify water quality problems make recommendations. Twelve "use impairments" exist in the Rochester Embayment. The RAP identified stormwater as the largest source of selected pollutants (including phosphorus and sediment) to the watershed of the Rochester Embayment of Lake Ontario.

This projectís goal was to reduce erosion from construction sites by improving compliance to SPDES Stormwater Permit through construction site inspections. A formal memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the District and the NYSDEC was drafted. This MOU clarified the relationship between the two agencies, and authorize the District to act as the Stateís representative while corresponding with members of the construction industry. An inspection form was developed that could be filled out quickly and easily at any construction site. Four small workshops (one in each quarter of Monroe County) were held to encourage participation from local code enforcement officers and the development community. Using the inspection forms, stormwater specialists from the Monroe County Soil & Water Conservation District completed bi-weekly inspections of construction sites in Monroe County that require SPDES coverage. Re-inspections of previous sites visited to check for correction were performed as needed. Data from inspection sheets was input into an ArcViewTM GIS data sets and disbursed to local jurisdictions and NYSDEC.

The BMPs proposed to address soil erosion and sedimentation in this proposal will fulfill these RAP recommendations by reducing the excessive sediment load that disturbs aquatic habitats and by decreasing the input of nutrients associated with the sediment. This projectís goal is to fulfill RAP recommendations toward de-listing of two (2) Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs): 1) Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat and 2) Eutrophication and Undesirable Algae.

A total of 100 construction sites were inspected for compliance with Phase I & II stormwater regulations. Fifty of those sites were then revisited to check on corrections that were needed to be in compliance with these regulations. The District met with developerís and contractorís while inspecting these sites and worked with them individually on how to correctly install erosion and sediment control practices. In many cases this improved the developerís compliance with these regulations when they were re-inspected.

Two educational workshops were held on the Phase II stormwater regulations. A workshop was held on March 20, 2003 for contractors and developerís to educate them on their responsibilities under these stormwater regulations, including the development and implementation of a stormwater pollution prevention plan. Approximately 100 people attended. A second workshop was held on July 28, 2004 for town supervisors, engineers, building inspectors and town planning board members to educate them about the construction inspection process for compliance with Phase II stormwater regulations. Approximately 30 people attended.

All 100 construction sites that were inspected and the 50 that were re-inspected were entered into an Microsoft Access database and then uploaded into ArcViewTM GIS data sets and plotted on a map of Monroe County. This information has been distributed to all towns where construction sites were inspected.

Contact: Mrs. Caroline Myers, (585) 473-2120 ex. 110


Great Lakes Commission des Grands Lacs.  2805 S. Industrial Highway, Suite 100.  Ann Arbor, MI  48104-6791.  phone: 734/971.9135.  fax: 734/971-9150. Join the Friends of the Great Lakes GLIN Partner