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Water: Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments

E. Management Measure for Operation and Maintenance

Incorporate pollution prevention procedures into the operation and maintenance of roads, highways, and bridges to reduce pollutant loadings to surface waters.


1. Applicability

This management measure is intended to be applied by States to existing, restored, and rehabilitated roads, highways, and bridges. Under the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments of 1990, States are subject to a number of requirements as they develop coastal NPS programs in conformity with this management measures and will have some flexibility in doing so. The application of measures by States is described more fully in Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program: Program Development and Approval Guidance, published jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

2. Description

Substantial amounts of eroded material and other pollutants can be generated by operation and maintenance procedures for roads, highways, and bridges, and from sparsely vegetated areas, cracked pavements, potholes, and poorly operating urban runoff control structures. This measure is intended to ensure that pollutant loadings from roads, highways, and bridges are minimized by the development and implementation of a program and associated practices to ensure that sediment and toxic substance loadings from operation and maintenance activities do not impair coastal surface waters. The program to be developed, using the practices described in this management measure, should consist of and identify standard operating procedures for nutrient and pesticide management, road salt use minimization, and maintenance guidelines (e.g., capture and contain paint chips and other particulates from bridge maintenance operations, resurfacing, and pothole repairs).


3. Management Measure Selection

This management measure for operation and maintenance was selected because (1) it is recommended by FHWA as a cost-effective practice (FHWA, 1991); (2) it is protective of the human environment (Puget Sound Water Quality Authority, 1989); (3) it is effective in controlling erosion by revegetating bare slopes (AASHTO, 1991b); (4) it is helpful in minimizing polluted runoff from road pavements (Transportation Research Board, 1991); and (5) both Federal (Richardson, 1974) and State highway agencies (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 1989; Pitt, 1973) advocate highway maintenance as an effective practice for minimizing pollutant loadings.


Maintenance of erosion and sediment control practices is of critical importance. Both temporary and permanent controls require frequent and periodic cleanout of accumulated sediment. Any trapping or filtering device, such as silt fences, sediment basins, buffers, inlets, and check dams, should be checked and cleaned out when approximately 50 percent of their capacity is reached, as determined by the erodible nature of the soil, flow velocity, and quantity of runoff. Seasonal and climatic differences may require more frequent cleanout of these structures. The sediments removed from these control devices should be deposited in permanently stabilized areas to prevent further erosion and sediment from reaching drainages and receiving streams. After periods of use, control devices may require replacement of deteriorated materials such as straw bales and silt fence fabrics, or restoration and reconstruction of sediment basins and riprap installations.


Permanent erosion controls such as vegetated filter strips, grassed swales, and velocity dissipators should be inspected periodically to determine their integrity and continued effectiveness. Continual deterioration or damage to these controls may indicate a need for better design or construction.


4. Practices

As discussed more fully at the beginning of this chapter and in Chapter 1, the following practices are described for illustrative purposes only. State programs need not require implementation of these practices. However, as a practical matter, EPA anticipates that the management measure set forth above generally will be implemented by applying one or more management practices appropriate to the source, location, and climate. The practices set forth below have been found by EPA to be representative of the types of practices that can be applied successfully apply to achieve the management measure described above.


  • a. Seed and fertilize, seed and mulch, and/or sod damaged vegetated areas and slopes.

  • b. Establish pesticide/herbicide use and nutrient management programs.

Refer to the Management Measure for Construction Site Chemical Control in this chapter.


  • c. Restrict herbicide and pesticide use in highway rights-of-way to applicators certified under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to ensure safe and effective application.

  • d. The use of chemicals such as soil stabilizers, dust palliatives, sterilants, and growth inhibitors should be limited to the best estimate of optimum application rates. All feasible measures should be taken to avoid excess application and consequent intrusion of such chemicals into surface runoff.

  • e. Sweep, vacuum, and wash residential/urban streets and parking lots.

  • f. Collect and remove road debris.

  • g. Cover salt storage piles and other deicing materials to reduce contamination of surface waters. Locate them outside the 100-year floodplain.

  • h. Regulate the application of deicing salts to prevent oversalting of pavement.

  • i. Use specially equipped salt application trucks.

  • j. Use alternative deicing materials, such as sand or salt substitutes, where sensitive ecosystems should be protected.

  • k. Prevent dumping of accumulated snow into surface waters.

  • l. Maintain retaining walls and pavements to minimize cracks and leakage.

  • m. Repair potholes.

  • n. Encourage litter and debris control management.

  • o. Develop an inspection program to ensure that general maintenance is performed on urban runoff and NPS pollution control facilities.

To be effective, erosion and sediment control devices and practices must receive thorough and periodic inspection checks. The following is a suggested checklist for the inspection of erosion and sediment controls (AASHTO Operating Subcommittee on Design, 1990):


  • Clean out sediment basins and traps; ensure that structures are stable.
  • Inspect silt fences and replace deteriorated fabrics and wire connections; properly dispose of deteriorated materials.
  • Renew riprapped areas and reapply supplemental rock as necessary.
  • Repair/replace check dams and brush barriers; replace or stabilize straw bales as needed.
  • Regrade and shape berms and drainage ditches to ensure that runoff is properly channeled.
  • Apply seed and mulch where bare spots appear, and replace matting material if deteriorated.
  • Ensure that culverts and inlets are protected from siltation.
  • Inspect all permanent erosion and sediment controls on a scheduled, programmed basis.
  • p. Ensure that energy dissipators and velocity controls to minimize runoff velocity and erosion are maintained.

  • q. Dispose of accumulated sediment collected from urban runoff management and pollution control facilities, and any wastes generated during maintenance operations, in accordance with appropriate local, State, and Federal regulations.

  • r. Use techniques such as suspended tarps, vacuums, or booms to reduce, to the extent practicable, the delivery to surface waters of pollutants used or generated during bridge maintenance (e.g., paint, solvents, scrapings).

  • s. Develop education programs to promote the practices listed above.

5. Effectiveness Information and Cost Information

Preventive maintenance is a time-proven, cost-effective management approach. Operation schedules and maintenance procedures to restore vegetation, proper management of salt and fertilizer application, regular cleaning of urban runoff structures, and frequent sweeping and vacuuming of urban streets have effective results in pollution control. Litter control, clean-up, and fix-up practices are a low-cost means for eliminating causes of pollution, as is the proper handling of fertilizers, pesticides, and other toxic materials including deicing salts and abrasives. Table 4-30 (18k) presents summary information on the cost and effectiveness of operation and maintenance practices for roads, highways, and bridges. Many States and communities are already implementing several of these practices within their budget limitations. As shown in Table 4-30 (18k), the use of road salt alternatives such as calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) can be very costly. Some researchers have indicated, however, that reductions in corrosion of infrastructure, damage to roadside vegetation, and the quantity of material that needs to be applied may offset the higher cost of CMA. Use of road salt minimization practices such as salt storage protection and special salt spreading equipment reduces the amount of salt that a State or community must purchase. Consequently, implementation of these practices can pay for itself through savings in salt purchasing costs. Similar programs such as nutrient and pesticide management can also lead to decreased expenditures for materials.


CMA Eligible for Matching Funds

Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) is now eligible for Federal matching funds under the Bridge Program of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991. The Act provides 80 percent funding for use of CMA on salt-sensitive bridges in order to protect against corrosion and to extend their useful life. CMA can also be used to protect vegetation from salt damage in environmentally sensitive areas.




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