Caltrans Stormwater Inspection Forms Basics | The CEM 2030, 2035, and so on...

This is a highly requested topic. These Caltrans Forms can be incredibly confusing. But, I'm here to help decipher some of the most common ones that we use in the Stormwater Management Industry.


Let me just start off by saying that we have been involved with SWPPP Inspection for nearly ten years (we started with Grading and Drainage Plans and Parking Lot Design). We have served as the Water Pollution Control Manager / Qualified SWPPP Practitioner and/or Qualified SWPPP Developer on about 600 projects, many of those projects included Caltrans Highway work.


We've worked in many Caltrans Districts, including Districts 3, 4 and 10, which have a very high level of stormwater oversight and water quality concern. Caltrans has been constantly evolving their enforcement and water pollution control requirements and we have been working hard to keep in swing with the changes to keep our clients compliant.

Having been an Inspector myself on several Caltrans SWPPP and WPCP projects, I've had to go through the Caltrans Form growing pains. These forms can be tricky at first, and while I'm not going to go over how to fill out these forms in this post, I will broadly go over what the most common forms are and what they entail (Okay, maybe I'll give a couple of tips on how to fill it out).


If you are interested in learning how to fill out Caltrans Stormwater Inspection Reports, stay tuned for our upcoming Online Training Courses. If you want to be on our mailing list when we release these courses, email me at kaeli@tullygroup.com and I'll get you added to our list.


As you'll read in the following post, there is also typically an INSTRUCTIONS page at the end of the Form, we highly suggest reading this. It can help you understand exactly what the rules are.


Where can you download the Forms:

https://dot.ca.gov/programs/construction/forms


CEM 2030 - Stormwater Site Inspection Report


Brief Overview:

The most common report that we work with is the CEM-2030. This is the Stormwater Inspection Report used to document the Weekly, Pre-Storm, During-Storm, Post-Storm, Quarterly Non-Stormwater, and Annual Compliance Stormwater Inspections.


This form will auto-populate pages based on what Risk Level your site is as well as what kind of Inspection you are performing. For example, when you select the "Risk Level 2" and "During Storm" checkboxes on the first page, additional pages will be added to the report to include During Storm Visual Inspection Requirements. Same thing if you select the "Quarterly" box, an additional page will be added to the report to cover Quarterly Non-Stormwater inspection observations.


On the first page of the CEM-2030 you will find the project name, Caltrans project numbers, and the contact information for the Contractor and Water Pollution Control Manager. You will also see the date of the inspection along with the weather conditions at the time of inspection. General information about the phase is also found here. The inspection type as well as recent storm data will be listed here as well. At the bottom of the first page, there is a section to list out the inspections for the previous week.


The second page is where the core part of the report is, the BMP Inspection. This can look very messy and be easy to overlook, so it's important to slow down and read through the checkboxes and comments. As an Inspector, I like to list current updates about the work being done under the "Disturbed Soil Area (DSA) Management" section.


Throughout this BMP section, there are several opportunities for different interpretations. For example, some people may read the "Maintenance performed when 1/3 height or repair needed" checkbox under the Temporary Linear Sediment Barrier section in various ways. To clarify, I like to add a comment to let the Contractor know what I'm suggesting.

These locations and BMPs are not representing actual projects :)

I'll talk more later about this, but on the right side of the report, you'll see columns for corresponding Corrective Actions. This is where you can find more information about the Corrective Actions identified in the CEM-2035.


The next section on the report changes based on the Risk Level and Inspection Type. It gives a place to write down Storm-related, Quarterly, and Annual Inspection information. Caltrans intentionally adjusted the setting of this form to change based on what kind of project and inspection you are performing.


The next section, which will typically be on page 7 of the CEM-2030 (unless there is a Storm, Quarterly, or Annual Inspection being performed, which will cause this page to move further), includes general comments. Keep an eye out for changing checkboxes on this page throughout the course of inspections. There is also a great comment box on this page for miscellaneous comments that don't seem to have a home on the BMP Inspection section.


Depending on the project, a regular Stormwater Inspector can complete this report. But, sometimes a QSP or QSD is required to complete the report for a project. Most of the time a Stormwater Inspector will do, which doesn't require any certifications. All of our Inspectors at Tully Group receive training and many are CISEC-IT's working towards their QSP or QSD.


After this page, there is a location for all of the appropriate signatures. Followed by a page with INSTRUCTIONS - read these as they have very helpful information on them.


CEM-2035 Stormwater Corrective Actions Summary


Brief Overview: Will accompany the CEM-2030, it lists the Corrective Actions from the Weekly Inspection.


Now it wouldn't be a Weekly Stormwater Inspection if you didn't have a CEM-2035, or the list of Corrective Actions, for the week. And, yes, you can have several CEM-2035's sent out throughout the week. I personally only like to send out one CEM-2035 per week, but if I see something in my Storm-related Inspection that is crucial to identify and correct immediately, then I will send out an additional CEM-2035 (think wet concrete spill or erosion on a slope).


There are some basic contact and project-related information at the top, but just below that is a location for the date, "Date Corrective Actions Identified". The date of the CEM-2305 is important to keep track of.


The next section is where we list out the number of corrective actions, the BMP type, required action, additional comments, location, and spaces for us to mark this item as completed.

We work really hard to work with our clients to make sure we are recommending phase-appropriate corrective actions. We understand that you might not be able to fix an inlet in an inactive portion of the project within 72 hours, so we try our best to recommend corrections only when we really think they're smart to do and effective. We also follow what Caltrans asks us to put on our reports, which changes based on where you're project is located.


It's important to note that a QSP or QSD (and more specifically the Water Pollution Control Manager) needs to complete this report. Recommending Corrective Actions for a Caltrans project is serious business that needs a professional.


CEM-2045 Rain Event Action Plan


Brief Overview: Provides recommendations on how to prepare your site for a rain event, an experience QSD should be sending these out to safeguard your site.


This form is needed for all Risk Level 2 or 3 sites within 72 hours of an anticipated rain event that has 50 percent or greater chance of precipitation. If the rain event is predicted to total over 0.10 inches, then this form will also likely be accompanied by a CEM-2030 (Pre-Storm) and likely a CEM-2035 (Corrective Actions).


Learning when to send out a REAP takes skill and experience. It's much more difficult than meets the eye. What shoulder you do when the storm shifts? What if it's a Friday and the forecast changed to 50% right before the weekend? At Tully Group we have professional QSDs who make that decision as best as we can with our clients and regulations in mind. We want our client's project to remain compliant, which is why it's important to hire a trained Water Pollution Control Manager.


On the first page of the REAP, you'll find contact and project information again. The next is a section to document the percentages and inches predicted over the next 72 hours. In addition, the bottom part of this first page details if the storm is anticipated to reach over 0.5 inches, and if so, when Sampling is anticipated.


The next portion of the REAP details what activities are being performed and instructions on how to prepare your site for rain. In my experience, this information doesn't change too much since the contractors are not usually performing too much work during the Rainy seasons.


On page six, you will see some very important information. And, that is the "Pre-storm Inspection Identified Corrective Actions". Read these and complete them, as they are there to prevent stormwater pollution and bad samples.


Again you have the signatures page, followed by a very helpful instructions page.


Pro-Tip: read these instructions below and learn them by heart.


CEM-2052 Stormwater Sample Field Test Report


Brief Overview: The Sampling report that should accompany a CEM-2030 During Storm Inspection. Tells you what the sample data was.


Used for Risk Level 2 and 3 sample data, this report details the sampling results from a During-Storm Inspection. The usual information is found at the top (contact and project info), followed by the date that the Sampling occurred. For this form, it's OKAY to have a Stormwater Inspector complete and sign this report (no certification required as of now).


It's important to make sure that the sampling equipment was recently and effectively calibrated. If you see sampling data that are out of compliance, just double-check that the equipment was calibrated properly.


On page two you will get to the good stuff, that is, the Sampling Results. Remember per the CGP the allowable limit for pH is between 6.5 to 8.5. For turbidity, the NTU's must be below 250. Depending on the project, run-on samples should be taken to see if stormwater coming on to the project is the source of pH or turbidity problems.


There is also a section for Receiving Water Monitoring, but this is typically only used for Risk Level 3 projects meeting specific criteria. From our experience, these kinds of projects are rare.

Okay, now that we have gone over what the forms are, now let's put together what forms you can expect Weekly, with Rain Events, and Quarterly.


Brief Overview of What Forms are Required Each Week


NOTE: This is what to expect every week for all projects and Risk Level's

  1. CEM 2030 Stormwater Site Inspection Report

  2. CEM 2035 Stormwater Corrective Action Summary

  3. NOAA Daily Weather Forecasts

  4. CEM 2023 Stormwater Training Record

These forms are required year-round and weekly for ALL Caltrans projects, including WPCP and SWPPP projects, regardless of risk level and even for the Emergency and Minor Category projects.


Usually, we fill out one CEM 2035 form along with each "weekly" CEM 2030 inspection form. Caltrans wants to see what corrective actions your WPC Manager identified and also want to see those items corrected immediately, or at least reasonably within the same week. Not documenting any corrective actions is usually a red flag that you aren't going to the job site, so just be honest about what is occurring at the site, both good and bad.


The CEM 2023 form is to document your weekly tailgate stormwater training as well as employee and subcontractor initial job site training. Caltrans really likes to see these forms turned in weekly, so make sure to do tailgate topics each week. If you aren't working, fill out the form and say "No work this week".

Tailgate Topics: We can provide tailgate topics for you, but you also can use your own topics or use the Caltrans BMP Factsheets (click here)

Forms Required Before Rain:


NOTE: This is what to expect every week for all projects and Risk Level's; however, there is a difference here with Risk Level 2 & 3 projects

  1. CEM 2030 Stormwater Site Inspection Report

  2. CEM 2035 Stormwater Corrective Action Summary (if you see any new corrective actions you didn't all ready document on your weekly inspection for the week)

  3. CEM 2045 Rain Event Action Plan (for Risk Level 2 and 3 SWPPP projects only)

The pre-storm inspection is to be completed within 48 hours before a storm event. A storm event is described as one that produces or is forecasted to produce at least 0.10 inch of precipitation within a 24-hour period.


Generally, we are looking at the NOAA forecast and seeing if anything is popping up on the radar with 0.10 inches of rain or more within the next 72 hours and scheduling our inspections accordingly before the start of that rain event.

Before the storm (and technically all year round) is when it is most important to address any BMP deficiencies, get out erosion control where needed, cover stockpiles, clean up spills and implement other necessary corrective actions.

Fill out the CEM 2030 Stormwater Site Inspection Report, select the Pre-storm box on the front page. Fill in the Time Storm is Expected and Expected Precipitation Amount. You can get these from the NOAA forecast. An additional page will open on the form with the heading of "Pre-Storm Visual Inspection Requirements".


This can be done concurrently with a "weekly" inspection.


Document the corrective actions on the CEM 2035 Stormwater Corrective Action Summary and make sure crews are mobilized to prepare for the rain event.

For the CEM 2045 Rain Event Action Plan (REAP), look at the NOAA forecast. If any rain is forecasted with a 50% chance of occurrence, even if zero inches, fill out the REAP form. This is only applicable to your risk level 2 and 3 SWPPP projects. The form must be completed when the chance of precipitation is 50 percent or greater, within 72 hours of the forecast date. The REAP must be developed within 48 hours prior to the rain event and submitted to Caltrans at least 24 hours before rain.

Forms Required During Rain:


NOTE: This is what to expect every week for all projects and Risk Level's; however, there is a difference here with Risk Level 2 & 3 projects

  1. CEM 2030 Stormwater Site Inspection Report

  2. CEM 2035 Stormwater Corrective Action Summary (if you see any new corrective actions you didn't all ready document on your weekly inspection or pre-storm inspection that week)

  3. CEM 2052 Stormwater Sample Field Test report (for Risk Level 2 and 3 SWPPP projects)

The during storm inspection is to be performed daily during extended storm events. This excludes holidays or weekends if you aren't working on those days. Document the visual inspections on the CEM 2030 form. Select the "During Storm Event" box on the front page of the form and fill in the corresponding Time Elapsed Since Storm Began and the Precipitation Amount from Storm Recorded from Site Rain Gage. An additional page will pop up on the form for risk level 2 and 3 projects with additional questions related to stormwater discharge locations.


This can also be done concurrently with a "weekly" inspection.


Use the CEM 2052 form to document the pH and turbidity sampling results. Caltrans requires 3 stormwater samples per day minimum of runoff during qualifying events. A qualifying event is one with 0.5 inches or more of rain with a 48-hour break in between rain events.


Forms Required Post-Rain:


NOTE: This is what to expect every week for all projects and Risk Level's

  1. CEM 2030 Stormwater Site Inspection Report

  2. CEM 2035 Stormwater Corrective Action Summary (if you see any new corrective actions you didn't all ready document on your weekly inspection or pre-storm inspection that week)

The post-storm inspection is to be performed within 48 hours after a qualifying rain event. A qualifying event is one with 0.5 inches or more of rain with a 48-hour break in between rain events. Select the "Post Storm" box on the front page of the form and fill out the Time Elapsed Since Storm (this is from the time the storm ended) and the Precipitation Amount from Storm Recorded from Site Rain Gage. An additional page will pop up with additional questions related to the post-storm visual inspection.

This can also be done concurrently with a "weekly" inspection.

What forms do you need if you have a Discharge or Numeric Action Level Exceedance?


The CEM 2061 Notice of Discharge Report (for discharges that don't fit into the NAL Exceedance category)

OR CEM 2062 Numeric Action Level Exceedance (if your daily average pH is outside of the range of 6.5 to 8.5 or your turbidity average is over the 250 NTU limit; only applies to your risk level 2 and 3 SWPPP projects)

Forms Required for Quarterly Non-Stormwater Inspection

  1. CEM 2030 Stormwater Site Inspection Report (one per quarter)

  2. CEM 2035 Stormwater Corrective Action Summary (if you see any new corrective actions you didn't all ready document on your weekly inspection or pre-storm inspection that week)

Fill out the CEM 2030 Stormwater Site Inspection Report once a quarter (ie once during the January to March quarter, once during the April to June quarter, once during the July to September quarter and once during the October to December quarter).

This can be done concurrently with a "weekly" inspection. If you select the Quarterly box on the front page, an additional page will open on the form with questions regarding any non-stormwater discharges that may be present on the job site. Document the presence of any non-stormwater discharges or if none, say none observed. If an un-authorized non-stormwater discharge is observed, make it a corrective action to address it. Document the corrective actions on the CEM 2035 Stormwater Corrective Action Summary.

We've covered a good variety of common Caltrans Forms, but we definitely didn't cover all of them. Other common forms we work with are the CEM-2023 (Training Form) and the CEM-2070 (Annual Report) and CEM-2075 (Annual Certification of Compliance). If you have any questions about these forms or any of the forms mentioned above, reach out to our Estimating Team who will point you in the right direction.


Estimating Department - (707) 693-1926 estimating@tullygroup.com

NOTE: All CEM Forms need to be submitted to the Caltrans Resident Engineer for your project. We aim to get our reports done within 24-48 of each inspection so that you can get your report to Caltrans in a timely fashion. Some projects have very detailed and complicated factors, which may mean that it takes longer to complete. Ideally, forms should be completed within 24 hours.


Forms should be signed and submitted to Caltrans in hard copy, but at least through email. The forms should also be placed in a binder on-site.


This information could change as revisions are released, for updated Caltrans Forms please visit https://dot.ca.gov/programs/construction/forms


Establishing a good relationship with Caltrans is in everyone's best interest. Keeping on top of stormwater site measures proactively and providing timely and well-organized inspections and reports will go a long way in keeping that good relationship up.


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