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Chapter 4
Construction Practices for Environmental Stewardship
4.9. Materials Storage, Collection, and Spill Prevention on Construction Sites

4.9.1 Materials Management on Construction Sites

Materials management involves procedures and practices designed to reduce or eliminate pollution of stormwater from stored materials . Environmental stewardship entails use of management procedures for stockpiling:

  • Contaminated and uncontaminated soil.
  • Vegetative waste and paving materials.
  • Materials removed from drains, ditches and culverts.
  • Waste piles and any other material that could impact stormwater quality.

The following environmental stewardship practices are recommended in managing materials at construction sites:

  • Minor slides/slipouts often occur during major storms. Stockpiles should be removed as soon as practicable and materials should be placed so that waterways are not impacted. See sediment control measures.
  • During rain events, stockpiles of "cold mix" asphalt (i.e., pre-mixed aggregate and asphalt binder) should be covered. During rain events, soil stockpiles should be covered or protected with soil stabilization measures and a temporary perimeter sediment barrier.
  • During rain events, stockpiles of Portland cement concrete rubble, asphalt concrete, asphalt concrete rubble, aggregate base or aggregate subbase should be covered or protected with a temporary perimeter sediment barrier.


4.9.2 Materials Storage
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  • Sites where chemicals, cements, solvents, paints, or other potential water pollutants are to be stored should be isolated in areas where they will not cause runoff pollution.
  • Toxic chemicals and materials, such as pesticides, paints, and acids, should be stored according to manufacturers' guidelines.
  • Overuse of chemicals should be avoided and great care should be taken to prevent accidental spillage.
  • Containers should never be washed in or near flowing streams or stormwater conveyance systems.
  • Groundwater resources should be protected from leaching by placing a plastic mat, tar paper, or other impervious materials on any areas where toxic liquids are to be opened and stored.


4.9.3 Control of Sediment from Raw Materials Storage Areas
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Caltrans has recommended the following stewardship practices for control of sediment from raw material storage areas.[N]

  • Water quality, erosion and sediment control BMPs should be properly implemented and regularly maintained.
  • Wind erosion control practices should be implemented as appropriate on all stockpiled material.
  • In general, stockpiles should be covered or protected with a temporary perimeter sediment barrier at all times. Perimeter controls and covers should be repaired and/or replaced as needed to keep them functioning properly.
  • Berms should be installed around storage areas to minimize tracking of materials out of storage areas and to contain sediment within the storage area. Permanent rolled berms or ramp berms should be made of hot asphalt or Portland Concrete Cement (PCC). Cold mix asphalt is not recommended for use as raw material containment berms. Over time, cold mix has the potential to break up and not function as well as hot mix asphalt or PCC. Cover raw materials (especially cold mix) during the rainy season and have covers readily available outside the rainy season when rain is predicted.
  • Sweep surfaces where material is tracked, blown, spilled or washed from the storage area.
  • Reduce the size of stockpiles or the amount of stockpiled materials during the rainy season.
  • Interim sediment controls include using temporary sediment controls to contain raw materials such as sand bags, straw bales or silt fences. Temporary sediment controls, such as sand bags and straw bales can degrade and may contribute to stormwater pollution. Temporary and permanent sediment controls should be inspected regularly and replaced or repaired as needed.
  • Both permanent and temporary sediment controls require maintenance. Sediment contained by temporary or permanent controls should be removed periodically.


4.9.4 Collection, Disposal, and Diversion of Waste Materials on Construction Sites
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Construction site waste collection and minimization reduces the waste, the costs of disposal, and the risks associated with that waste entail re-thinking collection and disposal practices and opportunities. May of the practices to retain and avoid toxic runoff are applicable for waste planning on all construction sites.

Practices to Retain and Avoid Toxic Runoff From Waste Material Storage

Specific practices should be employed to retain runoff and to deal with toxic substances and materials.

  • "Good housekeeping" practices entail maintaining the site in a neat and orderly condition.
  • A plan should be formulated for the collection and disposal of waste materials on a construction site. Plan should designate locations for trash and waste receptacles and establish a specific collection schedule. Waste should not be allowed to overflow collection containers or accumulate for excessively long periods of time. Trash collection points should be located where they will least likely be affected by concentrated stormwater runoff.
  • Methods for ultimate disposal of waste should be specified and carried out according to applicable local and state health and safety regulations.
  • Special provisions should be made for the collection, storage, and disposal of liquid wastes and toxic or hazardous materials.
  • Receptacles and other waste collection areas should be kept neat and orderly to the extent possible. Trash cans should have lids and dumpsters should have covers to prevent rainwater from entering.

Construction Waste Landfill Diversion

Diversion of construction wastes from landfills is of increasing interest to DOTs in areas where "tipping fees" for landfills have skyrocketed. Diminishing space for landfills has prompted the high costs. Caltrans is beginning to look at this issue, which is likely to affect DOTs to an increasing degree. Recycling materials and reducing landfill needs was a chief component of NYC Transit's Green Building program. After initiation of the program, the Roosevelt Avenue subway station ( Queens) rehabilitation diverted more than 85 percent of demolition waste (e.g., concrete, steel, wood) from landfill to recyclers.


4.9.5 Spill Prevention and Pollution Control for Hazardous Materials
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Many hazardous materials are used in the construction of highway facilities. Employees must take appropriate precautions to minimize their exposure and use protective clothing and equipment. Contractors must submit material safety data sheets and obtain permission from the resident engineer before bringing any hazardous material onto the job site.

Some special permits are required for dealing with hazardous materials during construction. Demolishing a bridge, whether new, old, or temporary, requires an asbestos survey and a permit from the local air quality management district. Reusing soils contaminated with aerially deposited lead is generally prohibited.

Hazardous waste management practices are discussed in detail under Maintenance practices; however, basic construction considerations include the following:

  • Develop and implement a spill prevention and pollution control program for hazardous materials.
  • Identify hazardous waste training needs.
  • Emphasize proper hazardous materials storage and handling procedures, including spill containment, cleanup, and reporting.
  • Provide field personnel with procedures and other information so that the personnel may safely deal with known and unknown waste.
  • Ensure the proper notifications if unidentified waste is found during construction.
  • Prohibit refueling in sensitive areas and post signs to that effect. Limit refueling and other hazardous activities to designated upland areas.
  • Inspect equipment prior to use each day to ensure that hydraulic hoses are tight and in good condition.
  • If an unidentified spill is expanding and threatening adjacent sensitive areas, begin containment immediately if it can be done without personal exposure. Conventional methods for containment include interception with dikes or ditches at sufficient distance downstream to avoid contact with the material. Prevent employees, workers, or the public from being exposed to any unknown spilled material.

Minimize potential risks during project construction by having all construction personnel follow the general procedures below:

  • After unknown and potentially hazardous wastes (including underground tanks) are discovered, cease construction work in that area.
  • Secure the vicinity of the find by cordoning off the area with barriers or fences, and evacuate the vicinity if the resident engineer deems such an action necessary.
  • Prohibit construction personnel from any exploratory or investigative work that would result in further personal exposure. Such personnel are prohibited from taking samples or testing potentially hazardous waste. This prohibition includes activities such as the following:
  • Touching, smelling, or ingesting suspected materials.
  • Climbing into trenches or enclosed areas where contamination is suspected.
  • Reaching, looking, or placing a foreign object (such as a stick to probe or a rock to test depth or to determine the presence of a liquid) into exposed or leaking tanks or other enclosed spaces.

For any necessary exploratory, investigative, or cleanup work, use specialized consultants or safety workers who are fully trained, licensed, and qualified for hazardous waste work in accordance with state and federal regulations. Because of potentially catastrophic health effects, the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 29, Part 1910.120 (29 CFR1910.120) requires that no one enter the designated exclusion zones until the establishment of a complete and effective "hazardous waste worker protection program" or until the consultant has determined no exposure danger exists. (The designated exclusion zones are delineated in the consultant prepared hazardous waste site safety plans.) When dealing with the identification, assessment, and mitigation of hazardous material or waste, the resident engineer should obtain technical assistance. A DOT should have construction hazardous waste emergency contracts and provide procedural direction.


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Continue to Section 4.10 »
Table of Contents
Chapter 4
Construction Practices for Environmental Stewardship
4.1 General Construction Site Stewardship Practices
4.2 Work Area
4.3 Construction Involving Historic Properties and/or Other Cultural Resources
4.4 Construction in and around Drainage Areas and Streams, Wetlands, and Other Environmentally Sensitive Areas
4.5 Erosion and Sedimentation Control
4.6 Vehicle Fluid, Fuel, and Washwater Control
4.7 Air Quality Control Practices
4.8 Noise Minimization
4.9 Materials Storage, Collection and Spill Prevention on Construction Sites
4.10 Vegetation Management in Construction
4.11 Soil Management in Construction
4.12 Establishing Vegetation at Construction Sites
Lists: Examples | Tables | Figures
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