What Is BMP in Construction?

February 21, 2024

BMPs (Best Management Practices) are the tools construction sites use to reduce stormwater runoff and its associated flooding and pollution problems. They are a requirement for many National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements and form the core of any effective Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan. The suite of erosion controls are the heart of any BMPs — keeping soil where it is, rather than carrying it downstream.

Erosion Control

BPMs used to minimize erosion during site preparation and construction include but are not limited to phasing and construction sequencing, surface roughening, temporary seeding, and mulching, sediment control blankets, and reinforcement matting. Erosion is caused by water and wind picking up dirt, debris, and other pollutants from the ground and transporting it downstream. It can damage the integrity of a roadway, bridge, or structure and threaten human life, property, and natural resources. Erosion Prevention BMPs are designed to protect biological, archeological, cultural, and historic resources on the site as well as vegetation, soil, and water.

Structural BMPs are physical structures that capture or reduce the amount of water that enters streams, rivers, and lakes (water quantity) and the amount of pollutants in the stormwater runoff (water quality). These may include cisterns, rain barrels, and rain gardens. They can also be dry detention basins and wet ponds, or they may involve structural features such as porous pavement, infiltration basins, and sediment traps.

Non-structural BMPs work to prevent stormwater pollution before it’s generated by reducing pollutants or diverting them from the water source, such as pollution prevention and housekeeping practices. These can also be a part of a BMP suite and are often more cost-effective than structural BMPs. BMP inspections must be thorough and regular throughout construction and after completion to ensure they function as intended. Record drawings are a critical component for long-term BMP evaluation as they document the BMP’s as-built construction details for comparison to post-construction monitoring results.


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