Everything You Need to Know About Commercial Construction Dewatering

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Commercial construction dewatering is a crucial way of preserving and cleaning water and providing environmental remediation while allowing construction to go on. Groundwater contamination is a serious environmental and health issues, and commercial construction dewatering helps to preserve that 1% of Earth’s water that is actually drinkable. Since our ground water is 95% of the fresh water resources we have available to us, the situation could not be more serious.

What is Commercial Construction Dewatering?

At its most basic, this is a type of dirty water treatment that helps protect ground water from contamination. When used together, primary waste treatments and secondary ones like commercial construction dewatering are able to remove between 85% and 95% of contaminants before water is released back into waterways and the ground.

Why Is Dewatering Necessary for Construction?

Primarily, dewatering protects ground water, but it is also crucial for construction so that work can continue. Specific methods vary from state to state and by local regulations. Commercial construction dewatering is required during channel paving, grading, trenching, sound wall construction, retaining wall construction, utility installations, bridge constructions, or drainage inlet modification, to name just a few specific situations.

What Regulations Apply to Dewatering?

There are federal regulations that all commercial construction projects must comply with, but there are also state regulations that apply as well. Federal regulations incorporated in the NPDES permit process and governed by the Clean Water Act and federal stormwater regulations.

What Kinds of Water Are Part of Commercial Construction Dewatering?

Stormwater is one type of water that must be dealt with at a construction site. This is simply water that accumulates due to normal precipitation from rain or snow. Dewatering must also deal with groundwater that may rise up during a project, water that pools when streams or rivers are diverted, and also water that is specifically brought in for use during construction activities.

All these types of water may be contaminated in some way by the construction process. All must be dealt with in accordance with federal and state regulations and after getting a permit to do so.

When Are Federal Permits Needed?

No permit is usually needed if water can be discharged into a normal sanitary sewer or onto land adjacent to the construction site. It is also not necessary when water can be re-used at a nearby facility or in the construction process itself.

A permit becomes necessary any time that water must be discharged into a storm drain or into a body of water. This is important so that pollutants do not make it into natural courses of water or into the ground and lower water quality standards.

What Kind of Pollutants Are a Problem?

Commercial construction dewatering deals with three types of pollutants.

  • pH pollutionHigh ph can result from concrete or grout construction operations. They don’t always cause high pH to develop, but when they do a dewater operation is needed to protect groundwater.
  • SedimentThis is the most typical pollutant that appears during commercial construction. It may include visible solids or suspended concentrate. Nearly all commercial construction dewatering will deal with sediment in some way.
  • OtherOther types of pollution will vary according to the specific site and construction project being done. Possible pollutants could include fertilizers, organic metals like copper and lead, grease or oil, solvents, fuel, and bacteria from waste.

Managing commercial construction dewatering is an important way of protecting groundwater and other fresh water sources. Only 3% of the water available on Earth is fresh. Keeping it clean is everyone’s responsibility.

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