The Stormwater Inspection Checklist: Essentials for Compliance

stormwater inspections are critical to the federal and local compliance

Frequent stormwater inspections are critical to the federal and local compliance of your SWPPP

In most cases, site managers can contract out stormwater inspections to certified environmental experts who are legally trained in inspection and compliance. However, in some cases, federal or municipal authorities may perform a stormwater inspection to determine if proper compliance is in order. 

Therefore, site operators or managers must be fully aware of the best management practices (BMPs) that go into stormwater management to maintain proper compliance.

Here is a complete stormwater inspection checklist your worksite will have to pass to remain compliant with federal and local regulations.  

Stormwater Management Planning

An appropriate stormwater management plan or SWPPP is required to obtain a construction general permit or NPDES permit. This plan ensures that all BMPs are met to safely discharge stormwater runoff from a construction site into public water systems. 

Inspectors will analyze your plan and all documentation, including record-keeping, training procedures, and BMPs put in place at your worksite. Some basic elements subject to inspection include:

✅ Site Description and Location

A record of the site’s name, address, and specific location details is required by all SWPPPs and permitting authorities. 

✅Permit Documentation

A stormwater inspector will check to see that you have proper permitting for all stormwater-related activities and ensure they are up to date.  

✅Inspection Date and Time

All inspections, including the date and time they were performed, should be recorded and kept with your SWPPP. 

✅Site Mapping

All SWPPPs require an updated site map to identify stormwater infrastructure and drainage systems. Inspectors will require an updated map if changes to the site have been made. 

✅Drainage Points and Outfalls

All drainage points and outfalls should be identified in your sitemap and inspected frequently for blockages or excess pollution buildup. 

✅ Water Quality Sampling

Local water must be tested regularly for turbidity, pollution, and other abnormalities. 

✅Weather Conditions

Thorough record keeping of rain events, snow, and any other abnormal conditions should be kept to track total rainfall amounts.

Visual Site Assessment

Conduct a comprehensive visual assessment of the site for signs of pollution or illicit discharges and report any findings in your SWPPP. 

Sediment and Erosion Control Measures

Verify the effectiveness of on-site sediment and erosion control measures, including artificial and natural controls. 

✅Retention and Detention Ponds

Inspect retention and detention ponds for sediment accumulation and proper functioning. These controls suspend sediment for treatment, so frequent inspections are required to ensure there are no blockages or excess pollution. 

✅Catch Basins and Filters

Catch basins and filters are another important sediment control used to filter out fine particles at the discharge point. Inspect these regularly for proper functioning. 

Pipe Networks

Pipes and downspouts should regularly be inspected for blockages and functionality to ensure they are channeling water properly. 

Vegetative Buffers

Natural vegetation is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of soil erosion and excess sedimentation. Commit to maintaining vegetative buffers near streams and other discharge points to improve the efficacy of your efforts. Maintaining vegetation also decreases the amount of work needed to revitalize worksites after activity has ceased. 

Stormwater Treatment Devices

Examine stormwater treatment devices such as oil-water separators and hydrodynamic separators for proper functionality. These devices are key to ensuring that water is properly treated before discharge. 

Employee Training and Awareness

Review employee training programs related to stormwater management and pollution prevention. Ideally, employees should be trained on all of the above-mentioned BMPs, as well as the daily activities listed below:

✅Vehicle and Equipment Maintenance

Employees should inspect all vehicles and equipment before use for any signs of damage. Oil spills, improperly functioning parts, or even wet equipment should be causes for alarm. 

✅Industrial Activities and Material Storage

Likewise, all employees should be trained to handle and store all onsite materials, including toxic chemicals. Written procedures for training should be drafted and memorized by all employees. 

✅Spill Response Preparedness

Ensure that the site has an effective spill response plan in place, including an emergency response team with designated personnel. This ensures that someone is always prepared to deal with emergency response and lead other crew members. 

Record-Keeping Compliance

Record keeping is an important part of maintaining your SWPPP and passing a stormwater inspection. Keep a detailed record of all documentation and inspection-related materials, including:

✅Review of Previous Inspection Findings

Write down a list of issues from your previous inspection and solutions being implemented to address any outstanding issues. Remember, SWPPPs are living documents and require frequent updating and correction. 

✅Reporting Procedures

Proper documentation of reporting procedures, including members assigned to such procedures, will be looked at by inspectors. 

✅Compliance with Local Regulations

Inspectors will see if you can verify compliance with local or municipal stormwater management regulations.

✅Potential Improvements

Identify potential areas for improvement in stormwater management practices and document them during your inspection and in your SWPPP.

✅Final Report and Recommendations

Finally, prepare a comprehensive report with inspection findings and recommendations for corrective actions.

Conducting a stormwater inspection ensures that your worksite is always following the latest regulations from your permitting authority. Hire a qualified specialist to perform internal inspections and to help you pass mandated ones from your permitting authority. 


What is stormwater inspection, and why is it important?

Stormwater inspection is a critical process that involves assessing and evaluating stormwater management systems to ensure they are functioning effectively and in compliance with regulations.

Who is responsible for conducting stormwater inspections?

Stormwater inspections are typically carried out by trained professionals and inspectors, often employed by government agencies or private organizations specializing in environmental assessments. Responsibilities for inspection can fall under:

  • Municipal authorities: Local governments may have dedicated stormwater inspection departments or assign the task to environmental agencies.
  • Environmental consultants: Private firms and consultants with expertise in stormwater management may also be contracted to conduct inspections.
  • Property owners: In some cases, property owners may be responsible for self-inspection and ensuring their stormwater systems meet regulatory standards.

How frequently should stormwater inspections be conducted?

The frequency of inspections depends on the type of property being inspected. An annual or bi-annual inspection may only be necessary for residential or commercial zones. However, for active work zones, inspections should be taken as much as once a week.