Construction Site and Wastewater Management

Runoff water from construction sites is a major source of water pollution. Runoff water contains contaminants that degrade water quality in streams, wetlands and ground water.

The Federal Fisheries Act prohibits the deposit or release of sediments to waters. Violations are subject to a maximum daily fine of $500,000 and/or imprisonment.

Hamilton’s Sewer Use By-law No. 14-090 also limits the discharge or deposit of matter to the city’s storm sewer system.

How to prevent runoff water

Here are a few ways that you can prevent runoff water from construction sites:

  • Identify all storm drains and catch basins near the construction site and ensure all workers are aware of their location to prevent pollutants from entering them.
  • Protect affected catch basins by covering the inlet with filter fabric.
  • Develop a spill response and containment procedure and ensure it is posted and visible.
  • Keep private drain connections capped. Private drain connections to the sanitary sewer must not be used to drain basements or dispose of ground water. Rainwater entering the sanitary sewers can lead to basement flooding and discharges of raw sewage to local creeks and rivers.
  • Develop and implement a thorough monitoring and maintenance program such as regularly checking and vacuuming out catch basins, pavement cleaning and repairing or replacing silt fence and filter fabric.
  • Protect groundwater from surface infiltration.
  • Minimize the amount of disturbed soil and limit the time that disturbed areas are exposed.
  • Prevent runoff from other properties from entering the construction site.
  • Reduce the velocity of the runoff travelling across the site by using straw bales and check dams.
  • Sweep and shovel paved outdoor surfaces rather than spraying with water, which can wash pollutants into the drainage system.
  • Educate equipment operators to report and contain spills such as fluid from ruptured hydraulic lines or fuel leaks, and have spill kits readily available.
  • Perform all vehicle maintenance off site.
  • Conduct daily site cleaning of public sidewalks and roads.
  • During construction activity, storm drains and catch basins must be protected at all times.

When working on a construction site:

  • Never let pollutants such as fluids from vehicles, paints, concrete or concrete wash water; or sediment laden runoff water onto roads, or into ditches, storm drains or catch basins.
  • Never let wastes enter basement sump pumps. Sump pump discharges are directed to the storm sewer and do not receive treatment before entering our local waterways.

Erosion and sediment control plan

The erosion and sediment control plan is an important part of the site development plan and should outline all the necessary steps, including scheduling, to assure proper erosion and sediment control during all phases of construction. The plan should include both a narrative report and a site plan.

A good erosion and sediment control plan should:

  1. Prevent erosion by minimizing the disturbed area, stabilizing exposed soil and re-vegetating slopes.
  2. Address sediment control measures, which focus on intercepting sediment-laden runoff that has escaped the erosion control measures. Sediment control measures include:
  • Silt fences
  • Check dams
  • Sediment traps
  • Sediment basins
  1. Monitor and maintain sediment controls before, during and after rain events.