A Guide to Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)

Learn about how SWPPP affects the construction industry, its purpose, what it includes, and how to develop it

SWPPP meaning stormwater pollution prevention plan needed at construction site

Published 19 May 2022

What is an SWPPP?

SWPPP stands for Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan. Required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an SWPPP is a document that regulates construction sites and outlines how the site will manage stormwater runoff.

The main goal of an SWPPP is to reduce the number of pollutants carried by stormwater runoff into local waterways. This is essential because stormwater runoff is one of the leading sources of water pollution in the United States.

An SWPPP must be developed for any construction site that:

  • disturbs at least one acre of land; or 
  • is part of a larger common plan of development or sale involving multiple contiguous (i.e., sharing a common border) sites with a total disturbed area of at least one acre.

How Does SWPPP Affect the Construction Industry?

SWPPP is an essential part of the construction process, as it helps to protect waterways by regulating the way in which construction professionals dispose of wastewater. 

By ensuring that all wastewater is properly treated and disposed of, SWPPP helps to prevent pollution and safeguard public health. In addition, SWPPP can also help to reduce the cost of construction projects by reducing fines and improving the overall efficiency of the project.

Its Purpose

SWPPP has one sole purpose, and that is to protect water. The document outlines how a business or organization can protect water resources from pollution through the implementation of specific Best Management Practices (BMPs).

Who Needs and Uses an SWPPP?

Any facility that discharges pollutants into a Water of the United States (WOTUS) must have a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit. An SWPPP is a required step for obtaining this kind of permit.

Do I Need an SWPPP in My State?

Some states have specific requirements for SWPPPs, while others do not. To find out if you need an SWPPP in your state, contact your state’s Department of Environmental Quality or equivalent agency.

For example, the state of Texas requires all construction sites greater than 5 acres in size to have an SWPPP and a construction site, land development site, or any kind of facility that is regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) may need an SWPPP as well.

What Does an SWPPP Include?

An SWPPP typically includes the following components:

1) Site map and description

This component includes a detailed map of the worksite and a description of each area on the map. It also provides information on any relevant features such as bodies of water, wetlands, and floodplains.

2) Pollution prevention procedures

These procedures outline how the worksite will prevent or minimize pollution from. They may include specific instructions on how to deal with spills, manage waste, and maintain drainage systems.

3) Sampling and analysis plan

This component outlines how samples will be taken and analyzed to determine whether or not the worksite is complying with environmental regulations.

4) Recordkeeping procedures

These procedures specify how records of all activities related to the SWPPP will be kept. They may include records of inspections, sampling results, and pollution prevention procedures.

How to Develop SWPPP

According to US EPA, below are the following steps to develop SWPPP:

1) Site Assessment and Planning

Describe the site planning process, including how the site was selected, the purpose of the SWPPP, and the steps taken to minimize potential impacts.

2) Selecting Erosion and Sediment Control BMPs

Selecting the most appropriate erosion and sediment control measures for a project is critical to preventing or minimizing pollution. BMPs that are effective on one site may not be appropriate for another site.

3) Selecting Good Housekeeping BMPs

Incorporating good housekeeping practices into a project can reduce the amount of sediment leaving a site.

4) Inspections, Maintenance, and Recordkeeping

Ensure that all workers involved in the project understand the erosion and sediment control plan and are properly trained on how to use the BMPs. Constant inspection and maintenance is needed to keep sediment from leaving the job site.

Shella Marie Ang

SafetyCulture staff writer

Shella Marie Ang

Shella Marie Ang is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. Cultivating her experience in social media marketing, virtual assistance, and SEO has helped her create compelling content for websites and blogs. Her medical background also has given her an edge when it comes to writing medical and health-related content. She loves reading in her free time and being around other creatives.

Shella Marie Ang is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. Cultivating her experience in social media marketing, virtual assistance, and SEO has helped her create compelling content for websites and blogs. Her medical background also has given her an edge when it comes to writing medical and health-related content. She loves reading in her free time and being around other creatives.