The Construction Industry Coalition on Water Quality (CICWQ) has been scrambling on behalf of contractors in 2017. We focused on making the water quality regulatory system as flexible and understandable as possible, while advocating for regional public works projects which create good paying jobs and multiple environmental benefits for local communities.
We’ve seen a welcome slowdown in Federal regulatory efforts involving our industry this year, but the State of California continues to churn out new water quality regulations and modify existing permits, with some actions challenging our member companies. We’ve produced new information on important water supply and water quality public works topics, using publicly available data sources (that CICWQ members pay for with permit fees!) and information to train contractors’ workforce to prevent problems and comply with the ever-changing rules.
At the state level, CICWQ, along with a coalition of other construction industry, natural resource, agricultural and business interests, has been pushing back hard on a proposed wetlands regulatory program to be administered by the State Resources Control Water Board (SWRCB). The proposed program would duplicate and be implemented parallel to the existing federal system, certainly increasing the cost of land development and public works projects. CICWQ and its partners are fighting for withdrawal of this program by the state while maintaining the existing federal system. CICWQ is working with the Industry Fund-supported BILD Foundation to fight the SWRCB efforts.
On the public works front, CICWQ has been working with Orange County Public Works Department to develop a model stormwater management program which, if approved, could assist new and redevelopment projects to meet stormwater retention requirements on a regional basis without installing onsite best practices. The county retained CICWQ to help develop a “Model Alternative Compliance Program” for the county’s 34 cities. Such a program could greatly aid land development activities regarding stormwater management of completed projects, helping solve water quality problems faster than other methods.
This CICWQ effort is a prime example of collaboration among several member companies and their employees in partnership with public works agencies to address important issues. CICWQ just produced an informative engineering case study summary and prepared a detailed cost-benefit analysis of two different types of regional stormwater capture systems. The Case Study Summary and Cost-Benefit will soon be available on our website at //cicwq.org/
CICWQ uses the very best experts in construction site stormwater management to provide training, and we use our research and data analysis capabilities to develop curriculum and materials students need to perform their work. Call the CICWQ office at (626) 858-4611 for our next training opportunities.
By Dr. Mark Gray, CICWQ Chief Consultant