Time and again
our companion publications, Stormwater and Erosion Control, present horror stories
of installations gone wrong—horribly awry—and would you care to know who gets to
eat the cost of replacing these failures? The general contractor? Rarely. The
developer? Sometimes, but only when nature has outdone herself and loosed
biblical torrents of rain. No, folks, more often than not it’s the installer who
takes the hit, and you know who that is.
We hear a lot
about the fines various agencies dole out, and, yes, they can be
company-busting, but generally they’re reserved for genuine bad actors who
choose to flaunt regulations without making any real effort to comply. A more
likely situation involves the failure of an installation where you have to stop
what you’re doing—maybe even break camp on a completely different job—to go back
and clean, replace, or perhaps create from scratch a system or practice you
thought was out of your life for good.
It needn’t be
anything monumental like the slump of a hillside or undermining of a roadway to
suck the profit out of what should have been a good project. Even something as
simple as having to go back and flush out a storm drain that has become clogged
with construction debris after you’ve moved your crew offsite can cause damage
not only to your bank account, but to your reputation as well.
Living With Change
ago we reported on the EPA’s novel approach to regulatory compliance in
targeting large developers such as Wal-Mart, and how that retailing giant had
chosen to respond to a consent decree regarding its stormwater and erosion
control activities in site development. If you recall, Wal-Mart requires all
earthmoving contractors to take its training course and become (and remain)
certified prior to being allowed even to bid on its jobs.
Now you might
think to yourself, “Who cares? I don’t plan to work for Wal-Mart (or other large
developers with similar conditions).” Well, you might want to think again,
because what’s happening—as the EPA had in mind when it traded in its “beat on
the head with a stick” approach for a smoother but no less diabolical “subvert
from within” strategy—those Wal-Mart-certified contractors will soon be bidding
against you (if they are not already), and they are now “on the side of the
angels” from the regulators’ standpoint. How’s that?
have availed themselves of regulatory compliance training programs and achieved
recognized certifications (1) have an advantage over those who haven’t
regardless of whose project they’re bidding on (put yourself in the shoes of any
developer and see who you would choose to work on your project) and (2) once
certified can’t then claim ignorance of regulatory requirements. Think of it as
the reverse of the stick-and-carrot approach where you are given the carrot
first but you get to carry around the stick to beat yourself with if you foul up
… pretty sneaky regulating when you think about it.
Side With the Angels
I’d like to
think that if you (or people working for you) don’t already hold stormwater or
erosion control certifications, you’re wondering, “How do I go about getting
As you know by
now, Wal-Mart and other large developers have created their own programs, but
you have other choices as well, including your local regulatory agencies. But I
would like to suggest that you stop right now and arrange for your free
subscriptions to Stormwater and Erosion Control, both of which can be
accomplished through our Internet portal at [WEB]www.forester.net[WEB].
Simply click on “Subscribe” in the upper left corner and then follow the
instructions. Both magazines are filled cover-to-cover with valuable information
on their respective subject areas and educational and certification
opportunities, and their Web sites—accessible via the same portal—maintain
libraries of prior issues.