Heavy Equipment and Earth Moving Activities

Problems

Soil excavation and grading operations often contribute to urban runoff pollution by loosening large amounts of soil and sediment and allowing them to flow into gutters, storm drains and the local rivers and streams.

Sediment is the most common pollutant washed from work sites, creating multiple problems once it leaves the work site. Sediment clogs the gills of fish, blocks light transmission and increases water temperature, all which harm aquatic life. Sediment also blocks gutters and storm drains increasing the risk of flooding in areas downstream of the work site.

Sediment also serves as a transport for other work site pollutants such as pesticides, cleaning solvents, cement wash, asphalt, and car fluids like motor oil, grease, and fuel. Thus, poorly maintained vehicles and heavy equipment leaking fuel and oil at the construction site also contributes to storm water pollution.

Soil Erosion Permits: The City of Walker requires that a Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Permit be obtained for any earth disturbing activity that is greater than 1 Acre or is within 500’ of a lake or stream. For more information please contact the City of Walker Engineering Department at (616)791-6327.

Solutions

Best Management Practices, such as handling, storing and disposing of materials properly can prevent excavation site pollutants from entering storm drains.

1. General Business Practices

  • Schedule excavation and grading work for dry weather.

  • Use as little water as possible for dust control.

  • Obtain a copy of City of Walker’s Stormwater Ordinance and Soil Erosion Ordinance.  Click here to go to the Forms and Permits Section of our website.

2. Clean up Spills

  • Never hose down "dirty" pavement or impermeable surfaces where fluids have spilled. Use dry cleanup methods (saw dust, cat litter, and/or rags).

  • Sweep up dry materials immediately. Never attempt to bury them or "wash them away" with water.

  • Clean up spills on dirt areas by digging up and properly disposing of contaminated soil.

  • Report significant spills to the appropriate spill response agencies immediately.

3. Vehicle and Equipment Maintenance

  • Maintain all vehicles and heavy equipment. Inspect frequently for leaks.

  • Conduct all vehicle/equipment maintenance and refueling at one location - away from storm drains.

  • Perform major maintenance, repair jobs off-site.

  • Designate a washing site where water drains to the sewer system. The area must be covered, paved and well marked as a wash area. Post signs prohibiting oil changes and washing with solvents. Train all employees to use the designated area. Contact the City of Grand Rapids Sewer Department at (616)456-3246 for information and requirements for connecting to the sanitary sewer.

  • Use and maintain gravel construction entrances where truck traffic is frequent to reduce soil compaction and limit tracking of sediment into streets.

  • Use drip pans or drop cloths to catch drips and spills, if you drain and replace motor oil, radiator coolant or other fluids on site. Collect all used fluids, store in separate containers and recycle whenever possible.

  • Do not use diesel fuel to lubricate equipment or parts.

4. Erosion Prevention

The following control measures should be used as a minimum for erosion control:

  • The smallest practical area of land should be exposed at any one time during development. Mulching or other protective measures should be used to protect exposed areas.

  • Disturbed areas shall be seeded, mulched or landscaped immediately after final grade is achieved.

  • Temporary furrows, terraces, sediment or debris basins should be installed to prevent washing and erosion during construction.

  • In areas where soil may wash onto the roadway or into a drainage basin, the developer will be required to install and maintain a silt fence, aggregate drive and/or catch basin protection..

  • Final vegetation should be installed as soon as practical in the development after the land is exposed.

  • A gravel construction entrance shall be constructed prior to any site work. The owner or his/her authorized agent shall maintain the aggregate drive.

  • Sediment washed onto roadways or into drainage ditches or basins, and soil tracked onto roadways by construction equipment/vehicles or daily ingress and egress onto the site shall be removed at the end of each working day by the contractor, developer, or property owner.