We Comply: Construction Industry Environmental Compliance Guidance and Training

Kevin Boesch, CPESC

To increase protection of water quality resources within and adjacent to transportation-related construction sites, state transportation departments often require contractors to designate highly qualified personnel for environmental compliance who hold certifications, such as the Utah Department of Transportation’s (UDOT’s) environmental control supervisor (ECS)  or the Arizona Department of Transportation’s (ADOT’s) erosion control coordinator (ECC). For Arizona environmental consultants at Logan Simpson Design, as for others in the industry, training is essential for staying current on new technology and methods, as well as improving compliance with state and federal regulations and department or agency specifications. In a competitive consulting market, having experienced and well-trained environmental consultants on staff can be a differentiator for contractors that can help them win jobs.

Types of projects that may require an ECC or ECS include those that have Clean Water Act Section 404 permits, National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, and stream alteration permits or other environmental concerns.

The cost and time commitment to water quality/erosion control training and certification will vary on where an environmental specialist works. UDOT’s certification class and test are administered online. The Colorado Department of Transportation certification training is a two day class. In Arizona, the Arizona Chapter of Associated General Contractors (AGC) offers the erosion control coordinator training class and a refresher course that meets the environmental planning training needs of construction personnel for ADOT projects, but these concepts also transfer to non-transportation related projects (civil or commercial).

Logan Simpson Design permitting specialists developed the current AGC training program and teach the course to approximately 200 participants each year. This training helps construction companies and individuals meet the certification requirement and meet construction specifications for serving as the ECC on ADOT projects.

The curriculum includes the following:

  • CWA regulatory understanding; permitting, inspection, and proper construction site controls and practices; proper creation and up keep of permit required documents, such as the stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP); monitoring plans; and certain aspects and conditions of the CWA Section 404 (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits).

Some highlights from the course are listed below:

  • LSD’s environmental consultants rely on experience on local, state, federal, and tribal transportation projects to provide solutions to real-world project complications and challenges.
  • Trainings focus on field tested methods of erosion and sedimentation control and the appropriate use of best management practices (BMPs) to control erosion and sedimentation pollutants from being discharged off site and into waterways saving time, rework, and money. Post construction control measures and strategies for inspection are presented, with the facilitator leading a mock inspection exercise.
  • Due to the sensitivity of construction sites within a ¼ mile of outstanding or impaired waterways, the facilitator gives in-depth instruction on these environmental planning regulatory concerns in Arizona.
  • Certification from this class, along with an individual’s experience, must be submitted and approved in order to be listed as the ECC on an ADOT project.

Along with providing training, Logan Simpson Design specialists are also subconsultants serving as erosion and sediment control certified professionals, certified stormwater inspectors, or stormwater quality professionals for municipalities.