DALLAS, Texas, October 1, 2009 (ENS) – The Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the construction association representing commercial contractors in North and East Texas today signed a voluntary stormwater control agreement with the state and federal governments. The agreement is intended to keep runoff from construction sites out of Texas waterways.

TEXO, the Dallas-Ft. Worth Chapter of the Associated General Contractors and the Associated Builders and Contractors, agreed to participate in a pilot program to minimize or eliminate the discharge of polluted stormwater from construction sites.

Under state and federal law administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, TCEQ, it is a violation to discharge stormwater into waters of the United States or the State of Texas without a permit.

TEXO and its members are launching a voluntary pilot test of a program that encourages compliance with the Texas Water Code and the federal Clean Water Act.

“The pledge of local business and industry to comply with the law is essential to protecting water quality,” said EPA Region 6 Compliance Assurance and Enforcement Division Director John Blevins.

“This program promises to be successful in minimizing runoff from construction sites both large and small into our lakes, streams and rivers,” Blevins said today.

The program consists of an internal audit that each member performs at each of their construction sites, an agreement to participate in the program, and an inspection of each participating site by TEXO’s environmental, safety, and health professionals.

“TEXO is excited to be part of this agreement and looks forward to the partnership with EPA and TCEQ. The understanding and adherence to stormwater regulations has been a focus of training for our membership for a number of years,” said Raleigh Roussell, TEXO president and chief executive.

“This agreement today provides greater emphasis to our commitment to protect the waters of our state and country,” Roussell said.

“The TCEQ is committed to exploring ways in which to partner with our regulated community to further advance the protection of our environment,” said John Sadlier, TCEQ’s deputy director, Office of Compliance and Enforcement.

“This program, and TEXO’s commitment to further educate, inform and assist builders in meeting federal and state stormwater requirements will go a long way in helping us meet that goal,” he said.

The agreement is similar to other programs in Texas that have reduced and still are reducing discharges of pollutant-bearing sediment, which cuts the costs of waterway maintenance and protects aquatic life in streams and rivers.

Construction in the Dallas-Fort Worth area has slowed somewhat during the economic downturn, Roussell acknowledged in McGraw Hill Construction magazine earlier this year, but many projects are still being built and other big projects are planned.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport announced in September that its board of directors has started an eight-year process to renovate the airport’s four original terminals, through approving the first major expenditure for the DFW Terminal Development Program. Construction is scheduled to start in early 2011 and will continue through 2017.

In addition, the City of Dallas is modernizing the Dallas Love Field terminal building complex and air field and may be contracting for construction of an Automated People Mover system between the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Love Field transit station and the Love Field terminal building.

Then there is the 20 mile-long Trinity River Corridor Project, the most complex and the largest urban development effort ever undertaken by the City of Dallas. The project is intended to transform a flood protection solution into an opportunity for economic development and community revitalization.

The corridor will become a long greenway marked by signature highway bridges designed to link North and South Dallas and eight mixed use commercial and residential areas. Bridge construction could begin as early as 2010, depending on funding.

Levees along the Trinity River will be raised to provide 800-year flood protection, and construction of natural amenities such as gateway parks and trails along the corridor is expected to begin in 2011. Some trails are already built.

As the mixed use areas along the Trinity River are developed, these revitalized natural areas must be protected from construction stormwater runoff, an aim of the agreement signed today.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2009. All rights reserved.