Erosion and sedimentation is the natural process in which soil and rock material is weathered and carried away by wind, water or ice. Construction activities can increase erosion by removing vegetation, disturbing soil and exposing sediment to the elements. Eroded soil quickly becomes a sedimentation problem when wind and rain carry the soil off the construction site and sediment is deposited in surface waters.
Erosion and sediment control BMPs are necessary at all construction sites to keep soil onsite and prevent unnecessary water pollution. Training individuals responsible for installing, constructing, repairing, maintaining and/or inspecting erosion and sediment control measures and post-construction stormwater management practices at construction sites will result in properly designed, installed and maintained BMPs, improved compliance with permit regulations, and protecting water quality.
This fact sheet provides guidance on developing erosion and sediment control training programs.
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System/State Disposal System (NPDES/SDS) permit for construction stormwater requires that sediment and erosion control BMPs be used on any construction site that disturbs one acre or more of land, however, these BMPs should be installed and utilized on every construction site to prevent erosion and decrease the amount of sediment leaving the site. Sedimentation build-up decreases water levels, negatively impacts water clarity, and destroys aquatic vegetation and habitat resulting in poor water quality.
In addition, the NPDES/SDS permit requires training for any individual performing the following tasks:
Training construction and landscaping staff, contractors, and all other persons responsible for BMPs on the importance of using proper design, installation and maintenance techniques improves the chances that BMPs are performing optimally as well as ensures that construction sites are in compliance with state regulations.
Many training programs, workshops, and seminars are offered throughout the state of Minnesota. These programs may be advertised and promoted by owners and operators of Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4s) to encourage attendance by staff as well as local contractors, project managers, engineers, and construction workers.
The MPCA partners with the University of Minnesota to offer various certification courses to meet the training requirements of the NPDES/SDS permit for construction stormwater. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) requires all individuals working on MnDOT projects to be certified in the courses and to repeat the courses every three years. Information about the certification courses can be found here.
The University of Minnesota Extension Stormwater U also offers workshops throughout the year on various stormwater and erosion and sediment control topics. Additionally, the Minnesota Erosion Control Association (MECA) offers workshops and seminars providing valuable training for inspectors, project managers, contractors and designers.
Training programs may vary from formal classroom settings to independent study and testing, to hands-on site work experience. No matter how training occurs, the following are suggested components of a good training program.
Erosion and sediment control fundamentals - A training course should include an explanation of what erosion is, how it happens, and how it relates to water quality. This will provide some background and explanation as to why properly maintained and functioning erosion and sediment control BMPs are so important in protecting water quality.
NPDES requirements and the MPCA’s permit process - The MPCA regulates construction stormwater discharges through the NPDES/SDS Permit for Construction Stormwater Program. Any construction site that disturbs one acre or more of land is required to obtain a permit from the MPCA. The permit process includes a permit application and the development of a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP). The SWPPP is required to have documentation of all sediment and erosion control BMPs in an erosion control plan that will be used on the construction site.
The permit includes maintenance requirements for BMPs as well as specific inspection requirements. Instruction on all of the permit requirements and the permit process as well as assistance with developing a comprehensive SWPPP and erosion control plan should be included in a sediment and erosion control training course.
Permanent and temporary erosion and sediment control BMPs When training individuals, it is important to include information about proper design, installation, inspection, and maintenance for each type of BMP. It is also helpful to include specific product examples as well as specific examples of implementation, both successful and not successful.
There are many types of erosion and sediment controls that could be covered in a training program. The following is a condensed list of recommended BMPs to discuss in a training program.
It is recommended that MS4’s develop and enforce training and certification standards for anyone that is responsible for installing, constructing, repairing, maintaining or inspecting erosion and sediment control BMPs. This training and certification requirement could be written into current ordinances or permitting rules.
As an example, the City of Boise, Idaho requires that any permitted construction site must specify one individual that is in charge of the erosion and sediment control program. The person must be trained and certified by the City of Boise. In addition, some construction projects are required to submit an erosion and sediment control plan to the city for review and approval. This plan must be prepared by an individual trained and certified with the City of Boise as well. The training program includes topics such as requirements, regulatory background, and best management practices and erosion and sediment control plans. The training session ends with a written exam and certification is valid for three years.
Training sessions should be up to date with new technology and BMP practices available. See the fact sheet on Best Management Practices References for more information on tracking up to date information.
The development of a training program will require staff time; however, there are numerous resources and examples of training programs and certification requirements from around the state and the country. By utilizing currently established training programs as an alternative to developing a new program or to enhance a program in development, an MS4 can save time and money.