Friday, May 26, 2006

Stormwater Controls Implemented at GWL Site

A commendable effort to contain runoff has been made at the construction site on the northwest corner of Glenwood Road and Kissam Lane, where a seven-unit subdivision is planned. Earlier this month, an absence of stormwater control measures followed by several days of heavy showers permitted a great deal of mud to escape from the site and wash into Hempstead Harbor via Glenwood Road and a nearby storm drain.

Construction runoff is a key component of non-point source pollution. The Hempstead Harbor Water Quality Improvement Plan identifies non-point source pollution as a major cause of contamination and silt build up in the Hempstead Harbor. The harbor is particularly vulnerable to the impact of construction activities at the Glenwood Road / Kissam Lane site because of the site’s slope, close proximity to the harbor, and close proximity to the nearest storm drain.

To help reduce the impact of construction runoff on New York State waterways, the state recently mandated implementation of certain stormwater control measures at all construction sites of one or more acres. The Glenwood Road / Kissam Lane site is just over two acres. Developers and property owners are responsible for implementing the measures. Local municipalities and the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation are responsible for enforcement. Noncompliance can result in heavy fines.

Containing runoff at the Glenwood Road / Kissam Lane site is challenging because of the site's slope and proximity to the storm drain. Nevertheless, less runoff can be expected from today forward thanks to the installation of straw bales in front of a silt fence and around several mounds of exposed soil. Most importantly, the straw bales have been trenched into the soil a few inches in compliance with New York State guidelines. Additional measures, such as seeding and mulching of the open soil piles are still needed, however. Experts say these measures are fast, relatively inexpensive, and highly effective.

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