• Mae McGuire

Top Tips for Spring Success

Rain is SO last season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently released data that predicts drier and warmer weather for the next 3 months compared to previous years.


So what does this mean for you? Let’s talk about how Contractors, Stormwater Professionals, and the Average Person can adjust to this change. Like those stockpiles on site: we’ve got you covered!


It’s important to note that even in an anticipated dry season, the weather can still be unpredictable—especially in Springtime. For example, climate.gov reported that this April could belong to the wettest third of all measured April precipitation when compared to those of 1981 - 2010.


Even if this whole Spring season is drier and warmer overall, this data shows that no matter how much we try to predict it, Spring weather can have a mind of its own! Less rain isn't the same as no rain, so sorry friends...REAPs aren't going away just yet.


Wet Winter weather means less construction overall, and more work geared towards inspections and preparing for rain events, whereas drier Spring weather means more construction overall, and less work aimed at rain events. But don’t think this confirms the myth that Stormwater Management only happens when it rains!


A dry and warm Spring is a great opportunity to get caught up on existing projects and prepare for new ones in the Summer.


This is a familiar change of pace for us at Tully Group, so we’re preparing to switch gears while continuing to keep clients compliant. Read on to see what we recommend to make sure you're ready to Spring into success over the next few months!



CONTRACTORS

Pending the forecast, you can expect to see a decrease in Rain Event Inspections. However, inspections will still be happening! We’re going to continue our Weekly and Quarterly Inspections, but if it rains, we'll definitely continue our Rain Event routine. Given this decrease in rain, we expect that your work schedules will be interrupted less by the weather (and hopefully not impacted by COVID-19), you'll be looking to start new projects, and preparing for in-water work. Now is the perfect time to consider taking these steps to get ahead:


Apply for permits and submit plans early

Putting effort into your planning is easier said than done, but it's going to help your project run smoothly in the long run. Permits are important to apply for ahead of time because they can take a while to obtain. Once you get the permits, review them thoroughly to see if they detail any specific monitoring or conservation efforts.


Once you get your permits, specs, and plans prepared for the project, send them over to your QSD so that they can work on the SWPPP (bonus points to you if your construction schedule is ready too).


Need help figuring out what you need? Reach out to us! We're professionals in all things relating to SWPPPs, WPCPs, Dewatering & Diversion Plans, Erosion Control Plans, and the California Construction General Permit.


Review your Water Pollution Control Drawings

Once you get your SWPPP/WPCP back take a gander at those Water Pollution Control Drawings. Install BMPs per the drawings, and have them updated throughout construction to keep track of where stockpiles and materials are at. We'll do this for you if you're a client of ours, but help us help you by having a general understanding of what our recommendations are.


Purchase and install recommended BMPs before construction starts

Your Water Pollution Control Drawings (WPCDs) will tell you exactly what we recommend, as well as where to place them. Need information on how to properly install a specific BMP? Notify us and we'll tell you everything you need to know. Keeping some extra BMPs on hand is also a great idea; you never know when someone might accidentally run over a gravel bag or your secondary containment starts leaking.


Take “before” pictures of your site

This is a great way to make sure your site will be properly documented from start to finish. Get your Inspector out there to record the Pre-Existing Conditions of your site before your project starts. Noting the pre-existing conditions can come in handy later on.



Check the weather regularly

The forecast can change at the last minute, we've seen it happen plenty of times. Keep up with weather predictions to make sure that your construction schedule won't be impacted by some last-minute rain. We recommend NOAA (we reference this site the most), Weather Underground, or AccuWeather.


Avoid disturbing large amounts of soil

As we've said earlier, unpredictable Spring weather—even if drier than usual—could mean rain when you're least expecting it. If you open up lots of ground before it rains, that increases your chances of high turbidity and erosion on site.


Line up your Stormwater Management in advance

Get set up with your Stormwater Inspection team early so that you're prepared, and not doing things at the last minute. If you're within a 2-hour radius of Dixon, you can inquire about our Stormwater Inspection services. Give us a call at (707) 693-1926, or request a proposal via TullyGroup.com/Stormwater-Quote


Communicate frequently with your Stormwater Professional

We're here to help you! Talk to your QSP, QSD, Water Pollution Control Manager, or Stormwater Inspector for the best possible advice and service. Do you have questions about the plans? Need help preparing for a Caltrans inspection? Want to know how to install or implement a BMP? Don't be shy, reach out to us.


STORMWATER INSPECTORS

What will our Stormwater Inspectors be doing with the drier weather? Pending the forecast, we can count on performing more Weekly and Quarterly Inspections as Construction Season ramps up, with less Rain Event Inspections. Typically, we see an increase in the number of ongoing and new projects during dry weather. Here's what will be on our plate this Spring:


Updating and Amending SWPPPs & WPCPs

While we have a break in the rain, add new Inspectors, QSPs, and QSDs to the SWPPP. Take this chance to update the Water Pollution Control drawings to match current site conditions since sites will be switching over from inactive to active.


Preparing SWPPPs & WPCPs

This is usually the peak of our "Submittals Season" when we prepare a majority of SWPPPs, WPCPs, and miscellaneous Stormwater Plans. QSDs are hard at work getting these plans completed. Stormwater Inspectors and QSPs should be assisting their QSD with preparing these plans to learn more about Stormwater Management Planning and to improve their skills.


Preparing for In-Water work

404/401 projects become much more prevalent with drier weather. These projects often have different sampling requirements and require the presence of a Stormwater Inspector during construction. This is a great opportunity for Interns to assist a Stormwater Inspector in the field as they will likely be present for in-water work and collect the needed samples throughout the day.



Complete reports

There will still be plenty of reports to do, including Caltrans and CASQA, weekly and quarterly reports. As summer approaches, Annual Reports will need some attention as well.


Training

With more consistent routes occurring in dry weather, we will have more reliable time to work towards additional certifications, completing additional safety training, and attending more formal Tully Group training.


We are releasing online training for clients soon! If you'd like to be added to our mailing list for updates about our online courses, see here. Courses will be available online, but we plan on hosting in-person classes as well when social distancing protocols are lifted.


AVERAGE PERSON

Okay, so maybe all the lingo of "SWPPP-this" and "QSP-that" is a bunch of mumbo jumbo to you—and that's totally fine!


Even if you're not directly involved with Stormwater Management, there are plenty of things that you can do too in order to prepare for a warm and dry Spring. A little awareness of the importance of Stormwater Management and water conservation goes a long way. Think big picture, the more people know about these things, the better:


Stormwater Management

First, it's important to know what Stormwater Management is so that you can understand how you play a part. When it rains, Stormwater flows into our rivers, lakes, and oceans, possibly picking up pollutants on its way. The act of preventing Stormwater from picking up pollutants is referred to as Stormwater Management. We work to manage our Stormwater so that it stays clean as it flows over impervious surfaces and into our water bodies.


Specifically, we help manage Stormwater on construction sites to make sure they're working in ways that don't negatively impact Stormwater and subsequent water bodies. We're proud to prevent this kind of pollution, and ultimately help keep our water bodies clean! Explore our website to learn more.



Create a water-friendly yard or garden

With drier weather in the forecast, you might want to consider adding drought-tolerant plants or a rain garden to your yard in lieu of more water-intensive plants. Drought-tolerant species require less water to thrive (which could also save you money on your water bill)! Here's a list of pretty plants that are perfect for the California climate.


Check and maintain your irrigation systems

Whether you've got drought-tolerant plants or a raised garden bed, keeping everything watered is crucial to the happiness of your plants! Make sure there aren't any leaks in your sprinkler lines to ensure that water isn't being wasted.


A leak-free system also provides equal and proper distribution of water throughout your yard. Finally, water your lawn and other plants in the morning, before it gets hot. This prevents evaporation and keeps your soil moist and cool throughout the day.


Be prepared in the event of a fire

Unfortunately, our Golden State is extremely flammable. Dry weather leads to drier land, which increases our risk of fire. Learn about how to prepare for wildfires, and have a plan in case a fire breaks out at home.


For more information about the risk of wildfires in California, check out this article.


Advocate for widespread water conservation efforts

California is huge, and with a large population to supply water to, making sure we're using our water efficiently is crucial as time goes on and the climate changes. Agriculture is a major part of our economy, not to mention the fact that it feeds a large portion of the United States and the world. Encouraging businesses and agricultural industries to conserve water will benefit us all moving forward.


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