Ask Ed Expert Advice

Ask Ed | What Environmental Regulations Should Contractors be Aware Of?

As construction contractors we often find ourselves overwhelmed with rules and regulations regarding our daily Jobsite operations. This is particularly true here in California where environmental issues are at the forefront of the concerns for climate control, global warming, carbon emissions, clean air, etc.

Three of the more prominent regulations that directly affect most construction companies and their operations are:

1. Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program (SWPPP)

This became a state mandatory requirement by 1972 for all site-involved projects exceeding one acre in size. The program requires that a professional engineer prepare a SWPPP plan that details how stormwater erosion will be prevented so any topsoil or other runoff from the Jobsite does not wash into any storm drain system or natural waterway. The detailed plan also requires monthly monitoring by a Certified Inspector.

2. Construction Debris & Waste Monitoring & Recycling of Construction Materials

This program is usually mandated by the local agency that has jurisdiction over issuing the building permit. The plan can be very comprehensive in requiring certain construction-generated materials to be either repurposed and/or recycled. Additionally, the waste materials that are allowed to be sent to a landfill are specifically designated by the plan or ordinance.

3. Emissions Standards for Diesel Engines

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has issued emissions standards and evaluated diesel engines for compliance. This has resulted in prohibiting the use of any truck or vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) over 14,000 lbs. that has a diesel engine older than 2010. This regulation resulted in thousands of companies being forced to either replace the engines or buy a new vehicle. The economic ramification of that ruling is still being felt in the industry.

California is at the forefront of environmental stewardship and that is something we can all be proud of. However, environmental regulations can be difficult and burdensome to small contracting companies. For advice on complying with environmental regulations or other contract compliance issues, please sign up to be a client here


Written by:

Ed Duarte, Norcal PTAC Construction/ Public Works Specialist