Construction Site Procedures for Contractors
Common Problems for Contractors
Equipment must be cleaned in a manner that does not create any discharge of cleaning agents, paints, oil or other pollutants to a storm sewer or waterway. Soaps and detergents must never be discharged to the ground or off-site. When rinsing painting equipment outside, rinse water must be contained in a bucket or other container. Water based or latex paint rinse water may be discharged to the sanitary sewer. Oil-based paint wastes, including solvents and thinners, must not be disposed of in the sanitary sewer; they must be collected and disposed of through the contractor's disposal company in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Cement handling equipment must be rinsed in a contained area and there must be no drainage off-site.
Discharges from pressure washing must not be allowed to enter a storm sewer or waterway. Consider vacuuming up the water or berming the process water and allowing it to evaporate. If the rinsate only contains water and dirt or sediment it may be spread on the ground with prior permission from Physical Plant and if it will not enter a storm sewer or waterway. Depending on the content of the material it may also be possible to discharge to a sanitary sewer with prior permission from EHS. (Permission to discharge to sanitary sewer may take up to five working days.)
Any trash or debris must be contained on site and disposed of in a recycling bin or waste receptacle in accordance with applicable laws and regulations to prevent wind or rain from carrying it off-site into a storm drain or waterway. Petroleum wastes, such as waste oil and used oil filters, must be containerized for recycling or disposal by the contractor. Non-hazardous solid wastes, such as general construction debris may be recycled or disposed of in the trash container. Never dispose of liquid wastes of any kind in dumpsters.
Proper erosion and sedimentation controls must be in place to prevent sediment or silt run-off. Sediment (including cement) should never be rinsed off the site, instead it must be cleaned up in a manner that does not allow it to reach a storm drain or waterway. Equipment tires must be rinsed before leaving the site if necessary to avoid tracking sediment into the roadway or off the site. All vehicles must leave the site through a stabilized construction entrance meeting the requirements of the University's Construction Standard regarding Erosion and Sedimentation Controls.
Site Dewatering, Tank, and Pipe Testing
Discharges from dewatering, hydrostatic tank testing or pipe pressure testing must be free from sediment, chemicals, and any other pollutants. Some discharges, such as those from underground storage tank pits, may require City of Austin temporary discharge permits and contractor is responsible for obtaining such permits.
Spills of hydraulic fluid, oil and other petroleum products must always be immediately cleaned up to prevent discharge of these fluids with stormwater run-off. Petroleum contaminated soil must be cleaned up and disposed of properly in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Storage containers must be kept closed, clean and free of oily residue. Containers over 250 gallons (including mobile tanks) must be stored inside secondary containment.
Separators or Traps
Before removing oil/water separators or traps connected to storm sewers, the materials in them must have been tested (by Toxicity Characteristic Leachate Procedure or TCLP) within the last two years before they are cleaned out. Be aware that this test may take three weeks to complete if a recent test has not been completed. Contractor is solely responsible for accommodating the time for such testing and no claims for delay arising out of such testing will be permitted. Documentation of the test results must be submitted to EHS staff for review and approval before emptying or removing the trap.
Spill Prevention, Clean-Up, and Disposal
Be prepared to contain spills to prevent spreading. Small areas are easier to clean than large ones. Keep sorbent materials such as clay (kitty litter), polypropylene booms and pads, rags and sawdust on hand for clean-up of spilled liquids.
Sorbent materials can be used to effectively clean-up various materials spilled on pavement, water and soil. Soil or other media which has been contaminated with petroleum or other pollutants must be excavated or remediated in accordance with applicable laws and regulations to prevent contaminated discharges to a storm drain or waterway. Excavated contaminated materials must be stored in containers or on plastic and covered so as to ensure that the contamination is not flushed back onto the ground during a rainstorm.
Contaminated Material Disposal
Proper disposal of waste materials depends partly on the type of contaminant. Hazardous wastes (such as flammable petroleum products and solvents, thinners) and materials contaminated with hazardous wastes are considered regulated wastes, and should be containerized for transport and disposal by a permitted company in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Disposal also depends on the amount of contaminant.
Contractor Requirements and Responsibilities
Contractors are solely responsible for cleaning up and properly disposing of all spilled pollutants brought to the site as part of the contractor's work, including oil, paint, fuels, antifreeze, solvents, etc. in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Contractor must keep accurate records (such as receipts, copies of analytical results, etc.) indicating proper disposal of spilled materials in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Furthermore, Contractor is responsible for ensuring that all discharges from the site are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
No substance may be dumped or leaked onto the ground or allowed to run-off of a construction site that might cause pollution. Be aware that Contractor is responsible for pollutant contaminated run-off and proper disposal of all waste materials generated as a result of Contractor's activities.
Notification Requirements and Procedures
We should be notified immediately in the event of:
- Any spill that threatens to enter a storm sewer or watercourse.
- All petroleum spills e.g. hydraulic fluid, transmission fluid, diesel, gasoline, etc.
- Any hazardous or unknown material spill, e.g. many solvents, cleaners, etc.
- Any discharge from your site which you suspect may be in violation of City Code, state regulations, or other applicable laws and regulations, e.g. discharges which are cloudy, foul smelling, colored, contain chemicals or heavy sediment loads.
Notification can be accomplished by calling EHS at 512-471-3511 (press "0" during the recording if not during normal working hours).
Environmental Health and Safety acknowledges the assistance of the City of Austin Environment and Conservation Services Department for the use of information in this document.