By Brooks Morse, Lead Compliance Manager—Arizona West // 2021-04-07
The Coronavirus Outbreak has affected many of the nation’s workplace environments and has limited employee in person interaction in most industries. Earthworks has noticed enforcement agencies across the county adapting to this in several ways. One agency that has made considerable adjustments to their practices in ADEQ (Arizona Department of Environmental Quality). ADEQ has begun to conduct remote inspections to replace the onsite compliance visits. This consists of a notification to the permit holder asking for electronic copies of the SWPPP, inspection reports, corrective actions, maps, logs and signed inspection rights. The inspector will review all documents prior to the remote inspection. On the day of the inspection the regulator will set up a video call with the developer and ask the site contact to walk the site with the video. The regulator will ask to see specific areas based on the updated site map that was submitted electronically. The inspector will occasionally ask the individual to stop where they are and do a slow 360 spin to identify potential deficiencies. Once complete with eh site walk the inspection review in completed and the inspection is completed. With this new strategy ADEQ is able to complete 10 times the amount of site inspections as recently indicated by an ADEQ surface water inspector.
The obvious benefit of utilizing the virtual tour method is that the operator is involved during the inspection and can point out key areas of the project in order to better explain the site’s overall stormwater plan. The regulatory agency will still review all stormwater records and documents prior to the virtual inspection. This not only gives the regulator ample time to review such records but it also suggests that operators may want to consider a more digital means of implementing their stormwater plan in order to appease these new methods of remote inspections. Earthworks provides software that meets these new methods and has proven to create a smooth transition of documentation to the regulator when your site is subject to a regulatory inspection.