What is Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)?

It takes effective communication and teamwork to run a relay race. Once a runner finishes his leg of the relay, he hands off the baton to his teammate. The handoff is critical and each team member has a job to do, trusting that their teammates will do everything in their power to ensure the team’s success. That’s how Schemmer implements a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan SWPPP. Throughout the life of a construction project the vital SWPPP information is passed from:

  • the engineer
  • inspector
  • City/State representative and
  • Owner and General Contractor (GC)

The entire team works together to ensure Pollution Prevention (P2) is always a top priority on the project site.

What is a SWPPP Plan?

The SWPPP plan is an erosion and sedimentation control plan for all construction activities associated with the project. It conforms to the erosion and sedimentation requirements of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Construction General Permit or local standards and codes, whichever is more stringent. The plan must describe the measures that will be implemented to accomplish the following objectives to prevent:

  • loss of soil during construction by stormwater runoff and/or wind erosion, including protecting topsoil by stockpiling for reuse.
  • sedimentation of storm sewers or receiving streams.
  • pollution of the air with dust and particulate matter.

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan Permitting and Design

Any construction project that disturbs more than one acre of land is required to have a SWPPP and permit by the City or State. Schemmer’s Civil Engineers take the first leg of this relay. They are tasked with pulling the permit for the project and designing a SWPPP that has to be approved before a shovel can even hit the ground.

An experienced, knowledgeable engineer is critical to a project’s success in meeting the permit requirements. Schemmer’s Civil Engineers understand SWPPP permit requirements and know effective methods to manage the potential pollutants that can occur during construction operations. Each project and site is different, requiring unique approaches to pollution prevention. Our civil engineers use their expertise to incorporate structural controls and construction methods (also known in the industry as Best Management Practices) into the design and construction documents. Using their in-depth experience, they understand how to apply them effectively so it won’t negatively impact the cost or constructability of the project.

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan Implementation SWPPP

Once the SWPPP design and permit have been approved, the plans get passed off to Schemmer’s Field Services department. SWPPPs always start prior to construction. Schemmer walks the project site with the Owner/GC to discuss the items needed for the SWPPP such as sediment basins, silt fences, gutter buddies, and dedicated fueling and hazardous materials storage areas. These items help stop pollutants and the erosion of soil from hitting the streets, wetlands or inlets near the project site.

Every site is also required to have a construction entrance that typically utilizes crushed rock or recycled concrete. The rock helps remove mud and dirt from the tires of the construction vehicles before entering a paved street.

SWPPP During Construction

As construction progresses, Schemmer’s team makes weekly or biweekly inspections, depending if the project has a local or state permit. A half-inch rainfall also requires an inspection at the project site. The findings are documented and submitted to the designated city and/or state contacts, as well as the Owner and GC on the project. If deficiencies are found and not fixed in a timely manner, the project could potentially be shut down. Each project site is required to have the SWPPP documents on-site with the General Contractor in case a City or State inspector visits.


Schemmer’s Jason Teel, Construction Materials Testing and Special Inspections Manager, advises that if there are recommendations to add to your SWPPP during construction, whether it be an extra silt fence or gutter buddies around the inlets or hay bale to slow the water down going through the diversion channel, just do it. The goal is to not allow sediment to leave the project area and ignoring these suggestions could ultimately lead to fines by the City, State and EPA, or even shut down of your project.

A SWPPP continues throughout the life of the construction project until final seeding. The final seeding has to cover 70 percent of the vegetated area, when the City and/or State will then close out the SWPPP.

If you are looking for experienced Civil Engineering Consultants and Inspectors to handle your next SWPPP, let Schemmer’s experts help you. We will work alongside you to help you finish the race!

Design with Purpose. Build with Confidence.

Schemmer is a full-service architecture, engineering and construction field services consultant, providing responsible solutions for complex design and construction-related challenges. Founded in 1959, we are grounded in our past but remain fully committed to the future. Located in three States and six offices throughout the Midwest. Schemmer is providing services to clients from coast-to-coast and border-to-border across the United States.

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