Construction and Development

How Does Construction and Development Affect Stormwater?

  • Construction activities displace soil and create bare spaces lacking vegetation that can easily erode, resulting in sedimentation of local waterways, which can destroy aquatic habitat.
  • Numerous hazardous materials, such as cement wash, asphalt, oil and hazardous debris can run off of construction sites and into waterways, causing contamination.

Philadelphia Stormwater Management Regulations

Below are additional tips on how to reduce stormwater runoff pollution during construction:

Reduce Erosion and Sediment Runoff

  • Keep construction materials and debris away from the street, gutter and storm drains
  • Cover stockpiles of soil, sand or gravel and excavated material with plastic sheeting, protected from rain, wind and runoff.
  • Avoid excavation or grading during wet weather.
  • Plant temporary vegetation or add hydro mulch on slopes where construction will not begin immediately, and permanent vegetation once excavation and grading are complete.
  • Construct diversion dikes to channel runoff to a detention basin and around the construction site.
  • Install gravel driveways where truck traffic is frequent to reduce soil compaction and limit the tracking of sediment into the streets.

Minimize Spills and Stormwater Pollution

  • Use a drip pan and funnel when draining or pouring fluid materials.
  • Sweep up dry spills, instead of hosing.
  • Have spill containment and cleanup kits on hand that include safety equipment and dry cleanup materials such as kitty litter or saw dust. Report serious spills to 911.
  • Maintain and refuel vehicles and equipment at a single location on-site, away from the street, gutter and storm drains.
  • Perform major equipment repairs and washings off-site.
  • Inspect vehicles and equipment frequently for leaks, and prevent leaks from stored vehicles by draining gas, hydraulic oil, transmission and brake and radiator fluids.

Waste Disposal and Recycling

  • Reduce waste by ordering only the amounts of materials needed for the job.
  • Use recycled or recyclable materials whenever possible.
  • Recycle broken asphalt, concrete, wood and cleared vegetation.
  • Dispose of hazardous materials through a hazardous waste hauler or other means in accordance with the construction permit.
  • Non-recyclable materials should be taken to a landfill or disposed of as hazardous waste.
  • Never dispose of cement washout into driveways, streets, gutters or drainage ditches.
  • Wash concrete mixers and equipment only in specified washout areas, where the water flows into lined containment ponds.
  • Cement wash water can be recycled by pumping it back into cement mixers for use.


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