By Rod Hoffman
Let’s face it: stormwater regulations can be confusing. When you add in the calculations needed to determine what you can do and where it can be done, they can also be overwhelming. In the world of precast, we all want to know the answer to one simple question: “Can my product be used in that regulated area?” If your product is deemed proprietary, things become even more complicated. The list of terms can make your head spin – Phase II, MS4, Phase II tipped – it seems endless. In North Carolina alone, there are 13 different designations. At a basic level, we want to provide what works and protects the environment. Thankfully, there is a simple answer: keep your eyes and ears open for new opportunities.
As with all regulations, there are frequent changes. One of those recent changes may benefit precasters in this complicated area: the 2010 census of all things. When dealing with the complicated details of who can use what product, the grouping of urban areas for stormwater management is critical. A municipality that controls their own stormwater implementation, management and maintenance is very interested in finding solutions that meet their individual needs. The common thread within that group is that they want to save space and use a product that is inexpensive with an easy maintenance plan. Since many applications are retrofits, the options are limited and the size of the product is critical.
The recent census has changed the configuration and size of many municipalities nationwide. The revised mapping of these areas and changes in regulations has taken years to complete. When you add in design firms making the changes in their systems, you have nearly a 3-year time frame to implement new regulations. In tracking local North Carolina changes there are significant opportunities for proprietary devices in the region. As a precast supplier, tracking these changes is not something we usually do. It is common to rely on the engineering firms who perform design work to track and keep us informed. Our suggestion for you is to check with your local engineering firms and municipalities to see what recent changes have been made.
Just ask the question and keep your ear to the ground. There may be significant opportunities that were not available only a few years ago. We all want the same thing – the best product in the best application. After all, that’s why it’a called BMP, best management practices.
Rod Hoffman is Lindsay Precast – Stay Right Division’s Safety and Training Manager.