Not Your Typical SWPPP Story
Having and implementing a successful SWPPP plan is one of the key elements that goes into a construction project. Woodbury’s 100-acre mixed use CityPlace construction site has a unique story to tell when talking about their successful plan.
What is SWPPP anyways?
This process was put in place to prevent construction site storm runoff from entering into local lakes, ponds or other wetlands. Runoff from sites can carry dirty or polluted water into clean water, which can cause a lot of harm and damage to the surrounding areas.
The Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) is monitored by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). MPCA requires owners and builders to check in periodically throughout the life of the project and after any major rain events. They also require a detailed plan to ensure that the site will not have any polluted storm runoff entering into nearby waters.
To better understand the SWPPP for CityPlace we talked to Kraus Anderson Project Manager Bob Janssen, who has a strong background and extensive experience working with the MPCA and on SWPPP projects. He says some of the biggest challenges were:
• The lay of the land—hills, fills and cuts of 30 feet, etc.
• A lot of water to manage
• The amount of rainfall
The first challenge was the size of the site. Planning, grading and managing a 100-acre site is a complex undertaking. In order to improve costs and constructability, the 100 acres was graded all at once.
Second, in the event of a rainfall, all the water must remain on the site; that’s a considerable amount of water to manage.
“When assembling the SWPPP, you need to plan and prepare for these kinds of challenges and make sure drainage is always going towards the interior of the site and to the site’s pond system,” says Janssen.
The site also got a lot of rain in 2015 and in 2016; with 2015 providing two 50-year rain events*. It is important to understand that SWPPPs only prepare for two-year rain events, so these events have required quick thinking and proactive planning from the team on multiple occasions.
Janssen says the best thing to do when hit with large amounts of rain is to, “have a plan before contacting the MPCA.” This way you can assure them that you have a game plan and let them know how you are going to remedy the situation.
Why was CityPlace so successful?
This project brought many innovative ideas to the table. By implementing new and different best management practices (BPMs), Kraus Anderson’s SWPPP team was able to test these unconventional ideas and management styles. Some of these included:
• Erosion Control Blanket
• Constant documentation and communication
One of the most important BPMs put into place was collaboration. This project was one of the first to develop its own inspection checklist through iAuditor, a tool used for inspections.
Janssen’s team learned that building trust and communicating with their partners, including the City of Woodbury; Kraus-Anderson Development and Elion Partners, subcontractors Westwood and Frattalone proves better success.
“Many people are scared of the MPCA,” said Janssen. “The way that we see it is that sending reports to them gives them a sense of our transparency. This lets them know that we’re not hiding anything and assuring them that we are doing what is needed.” Janssen’s team documented everything on a weekly basis and sent weekly reports to the city and MPCA.
CityPlace’s team has opened the door to many new ideas and practices that can be utilized to create higher quality and more cost effective SWPPPs. Janssen emphasized that SWPPPs are living documents, meant to undergo changes and adapt when necessary.
Here is a small clip of CityPlace’s site and how they were able to keep so much water contained on the site.
*Meaning that these events are predicted to happen every 50 years.