The ABC’s and 123’s of New Stormwater Regulations

Kevin Pennock By: Kevin Pennock

What does The Virginia Stormwater Act mean for school design and construction? What does managed turf, multiple disconnected BMPs, and “treatment trains” really mean? The July 1st, 2014 changes were to target pollutant removal requirements, water quantity, reduce runoff, and create energy balance on the site. As owners, architects, and designers it’s important to know what it will do for K-12 school construction.

The new as-built certification requirements vary depending on the Best Management Practices (BMP), but the Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) Authority (typically a locality or Department of Environmental Quality - DEQ) will designate an inspector to visit the site and ensure that the BMPs are constructed in accordance with design specifications and DEQ requirements.  Contractors need to be familiar with requirements prior to construction to ensure they keep sufficient documentation.  This is important because some of these items are difficult to prove after construction is complete without invasive (and expensive) excavation.

Generally speaking, the new regulations will result in longer design/permitting time and increased construction costs.  Longer review time is a result of localities incorporating review of VSMP Registration Statement and Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) into the local review process, prior to submitting these documents to DEQ for final approval.  Previously, these documents were submitted directly to the state.

Cost impacts will vary greatly depending on the specific site and the quality of the soils, but based on projects Timmons Group has submitted under the new regulations, we’re seeing about a 20-25% increase in site construction costs for new sites and even more for addition/renovation projects.  Additions and renovation projects are affected more because the size of the project area is typically smaller and regulations require treatment of a portion of the existing site (10-20% depending on the size of the project) in addition to the new construction.