Grading and Excavation Contractor Editor's Blog
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 6:50 PM
Become a Certified Stormwater Pro
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.
A number of years back, we reported on a novel approach to regulatory compliance in which the EPA got retailing giant Wal-Mart to respond to a consent decree regarding its stormwater and erosion control activities in site development by requiring 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 certified contractors are now “on the side of the angels” from the regulators’ standpoint.
Contractors who 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, those same contractors 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.
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 certified?”
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 www.forester.net. Simply click on the Subscribe button and then follow the instructions. Both magazines are filled cover-to-cover with valuable information on their respective subject areas, educational and certification opportunities, and their websites—accessible via the same portal—maintain libraries of prior issues.
Then you might make arrangements to attend this year’s StormCon on August 21–25 at Anaheim CA. Information on the event can be found at http://www.stormh2o.com/events/stormcon-2011-70366-70366.aspx.