Clean stormwater runoff from construction sites is essential to protect the environment

By David Vaughn, Engineering Program Specialist

If you work in the construction industry, you already know it’s essential to keep a tidy worksite that allows employees to be efficient and productive. A clean site is also safer, not only for workers but also for the environment.

That’s especially true when it comes to stormwater runoff. When rainfall flows over the ground, it’s discharged into the municipal storm sewer system and released into creeks and tributaries. Allowable discharges are composed entirely of stormwater.

In contrast, illicit discharges are composed of non-stormwater elements or pollutants. They are prohibited from entering any part of the storm sewer system, including streets, gutters, ditches, or storm drains. Contaminants found on construction sites include sediment, trash, solvents, debris, paint, hydraulic fluid, and many others.

A clean job site will discharge clean stormwater when it rains. To keep the stormwater leaving your worksite clean, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Check equipment — including tractors, trucks, and skids — for leaks and repair them promptly.
  • Dispose of hazardous waste — such as used antifreeze, oil, batteries, etc. — at designated locations.
  • Sweep up and properly dispose of trash and construction debris such as concrete and mortar rather than hosing down areas.
  • Clean paintbrushes in a designated area or discard them properly. It’s illegal to clean brushes and dispose of excess paint into the municipal storm sewer system.
  • Reduce erosion on-site with control methods such as silt fencing and straw wattles.
  • Maintain your chosen erosion control methods by checking them after rain events and throughout the project.
  • Large areas of disturbed soils should be covered with mats or seeded to prevent the wind from scattering loose dirt.
  • When seeding and beginning the vegetation process, use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly.

Public Reporting

The following may be signs of stormwater pollution:

  • Discolored water or water with an oily sheen.
  • Trash, construction material, debris, or soap suds entering a storm inlet or drain.
  • Sediment-laden stormwater runoff.

If you see stormwater pollution, call Planning and Development Services at 979-764-3570 or send us an email at You can also report it online through the SeeClickFix app.

If the stormwater pollution involves a wastewater spill or backup, you can also report it to College Station Utilities at 855-528-4278.

<strong><em><mark style="background-color:rgba(0, 0, 0, 0)" class="has-inline-color has-medium-gray-color">About the Blogger</mark></em></strong>
About the Blogger

David Vaughn is in his second year as the engineering program specialist for Planning and Development Services. He worked as an environmental coordinator for FedEx Express from 2015-20. A native of Silsbee, David earned a bachelor’s degree in geology from Sam Houston State in 2016. 

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