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Regulatory Information

Stop 13: Construction

Highlighted Topic:  Natural Resource Issues

Tour Stop 13Most of our tour is focused on pollution control.  However, through construction or other land-based activities you might need to address natural resource issues as well.  For example, your facility might want to expand into a wetlands area.  Or it might (as pictured here) decide to do some dredging and filling work near a river.

Any time you start to make changes to your general environment, you should consider the possibility of natural resource regulation.  Key issues include:

  • Dredging and filling of surface water and wetlands.  As a general rule, any discharge or placement of fill material from a point source (a bulldozer would be a point source) into any surface water or wetland is prohibited by the CWA unless a permit is issued by the Army Corps of Engineers.
  • Impacts to endangered species covered by the Endangered Species Act. The Act makes it unlawful for any person to "take" an endangered or threatened species of fish or wildlife.  A "taking" can include habitat modification which injures or kills members of an endangered species.
  • General land use regulations under state, regional, or local government authority.  Land use regulations that affect the site and plant activities need to be met.  Plants that are located in environmentally sensitive areas such as coastal zones, floodplains, and prime farmlands may be subject to special land use requirements.
  • Water Acquisition.  Direct acquisition and use of surface or groundwater generally requires a permit from a state water resources agency.

Other Regulatory Issues:

Remember than any construction activity will be covered by the standard pollution control regulations.  For example, you will have to manage stormwater runoff and fugitive emissions from construction activities during the construction process.  Among other air pollutants, construction sites often generate significant dust, which is an ambient air quality pollutant under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and thus must be managed.

In addition, an important issue with construction involves the Clean Air Act:  before you can even start constructing a new facility (or modifying an existing one), you have to ensure that the Clean Air Act requirements for new sources will be met once the facility starts operating.  If not, you may have to change your construction or siting plans.