NPDES Phase I required that land disturbance greater than or equal to five (5) acres required coverage under the Vermont Construction General Permit (CGP). As of March 3, 2003 NPDES Phase II increased these requirements to include projects requiring land disturbance of greater than or equal to one (1) acre, and as such, require coverage under the Vermont Construction General Permit (CGP).
Stormwater, and the pollutants it carries, are a leading cause of water quality impairments in Vermont. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers "construction/land disturbance activities" to include clearing, grading, excavation, stockpiling of fill material and other activities that expose soil related to projects that build, expand, replace or demolish something (such as a home, store, golf course, road, etc.). EPA does not include routine earth-disturbing activities that are part of the day-to-day operation of a completed facility, such as landscape maintenance or the grading of existing gravel roads.
In the State of Vermont, the Agency of Natural Resources – Department of Environmental Conservation (Vermont DEC) is the permitting authority and administers the CGP on behalf of the EPA.
In order to obtain coverage under the CGP, VTrans and its contractors will comply, or will require others working in our right-of-way under a Section 1111 Permit, to comply with ANR issued General Permit 3-9020 (2008) and/or Individual Permit regulating stormwater runoff from construction sites which result in land disturbance equal to or greater than one acre of land.
In addition, VTrans has put the following measures in place:
VTrans Construction Environmental Engineers
In 2003, VTrans created and filled a full-time Construction Environmental Engineer (CEE) position in the VTrans Construction Division. The VTrans CEE is a board member of the International Erosion Control Association, Northeast Chapter, is a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC), and obtained status as a licensed Professional Engineer in December of 2006. A full-time, year-round Assistant CEE (ACEE) was added to the Construction Section in May of 2006. The ACEE became a licensed Professional Engineer in June 2006 and is also a CPESC.
Primary goals of the CEE and ACEE are to ensure VTrans compliance with the Construction General Permits or Individual Permits, review and update construction erosion control details and specifications, provide training for VTrans staff statewide, consultants and contractors, and conduct construction site assurance visits. The CEE and ACEE visit VTrans construction sites as educators, monitors, and technical experts.
The CEE and ACEE ensure that VTrans maintains compliance under all relative permitting programs and maintain staff and contractor awareness and education by fulfilling the following areas of responsibility:
Review for acceptance Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control Plans designed by consultants and contractors in accordance with the VTrans Contractor Checklist;
Provide VTrans designers guidance on successfully completing EPSC Plans for approval from ANR;
Visit all VTrans construction projects in the state several times, some weekly or biweekly, during the construction season to ensure compliance with all environmental permit regulations, and follow each visit up with recommendations for improvement;
Lead the effort to update the VTrans Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control Details and Construction Specifications;
Arrange and present at several EPSC Trainings with ANR staff;
Arrange for erosion prevention and sediment control training for VTrans employees and its design consultants;
Attend project pre-construction conferences to ensure Resident Engineers and Contractors are aware of environmental permits and any specific conditions of those permits;
Attend Final Inspections to ensure projects have been completed in compliance with all environmental regulations and that disturbed areas were fully stabilized; and
Host an internal VTrans Erosion Control Work Group which is tasked with technical specification review and update, policy and regulation review, training and education, and other EPSC related activities.
VTrans Culvert and Ditching Procedures
In 2002, VTrans developed and distributed an “Environmental Field Handbook for Culvert and Ditching Procedures” to be used as a guide for maintenance activities. It is based on field application of the VTrans Statewide Culvert and Ditching Procedures that have been in effect since 1997. The Culvert and Ditching Procedures, updated every 5 years, were developed with participation from the ANR, U.S. Army Crops of Engineer, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Federal Highway Administration.
VTrans EPSC Protocol
The new VTrans EPSC Protocol was developed in late Fall 2006. The protocol replaces the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) drafted in 2004 and sets guidelines for Consultants, VTrans Designers, VTrans Construction Management Staff and District field staff for creating and implementing consistent Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control Plans that meet the requirements of the New Construction General Permit CGP 3-9020 (2008) and for those non-jurisdictional projects disturbing less than 1 acre with any potential to impact resources. The guidelines include EPSC Plan Checklists, flowcharts, detail drawings, specifications and general guidance, all of which are posted on the VTrans Environmental Webpage.
Certified Professionals in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC) and Certified Professionals in Stormwater Quality (CPSWQ) is an internationally recognized professional certification in the stormwater management field .VTrans supports staff to become CPESCs and CPSWQs and provides opportunities for those employees interested in pursuing CPESC or CPSWQ training and certification.
Title 19 Section 1111 Utilities and Access Permits
VTrans is using the existing VTrans Access Management Program, Highway Permits, and Development Agreements (Title 19 Section 1111 Permit) to Manage EPSC Activities of non-VTrans Projects that need access to the State’s right-of-way. The Section 1111 Permit Standard Conditions was updated during the 2003-2008 Permit Term and resulted in the writing and adoption of Stormwater Conditions for all VTrans Access Permits. These conditions improve VTrans’ control over discharge into the VTrans MS4s of stormwater generated by non-VTrans property owners. Implementation has occurred Statewide. The condition also better informs the applicants and others of the responsibilities and requirements for managing stormwater.
District Maintenance Education, Training and Participation
VTrans Maintenance District personnel responsible for the State Highways have been educated on the importance of identifying EPSC problems suspected to originate outside of the VTrans right-of-way. Stormwater may originate from non-VTrans property, causing a nuisance by discharging eroding material and sediment in stormwater runoff from non-VTrans projects into the VTrans Stormwater Management System.