Headline: SCSWA Take Proactive Approach Through Annual Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan Training
Submitted by South Central Solid Waste Authority
Date: July 30, 2021 (Bulletin)
When the rain hits Las Cruces, certain streets flood. Rainwater captures the oils from cars and sends it off down the road until it hits a barrier or ends up in the sewer. The same process happens with a garbage pile. Rainwater can seep through a landfill or transfer station, and the runoff can be filled with hazardous contaminants. However, South Central Solid Waste Authority is proactive about making sure that rainwater stays on its property.
“We hold annual trainings for staff so they can make sure to mitigate erosion of barriers and plan for that 100-year rain,” said Miguel Fernandez, SCWA Authority program administrator. “Our staff knows how to access the damage that rain can cause to our facilities.”
Fernandez explained that especially county collection sites in Doña Ana ramps can erode, and crews need to come out to do dirt work before residents can safely come back to drop off recycling materials and household trash. But beyond moving dirt, SCSWA employees stay informed about how to deal with water runoff through regulatory courses which keeps us in compliance with EPA regulations regarding storm water pollution prevention plans.
All site managers have a yearly refresher by certified trainers to ensure we keep up with the date with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on stormwater regulations. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Stormwater Program was established by the federal Clean Water Act and makes sure that states protect surface water quality. More simply, if protections and barriers fail, SCSWA staff must know how to take samples so that New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) can check for contaminants that may be contained in the trash pile that ends up in rainwater or runoffs.
“We rarely need to do this because we already cut off any flow of water with sloped ponding areas, drainage ditches, and man-made channels for any rain to flow back inside our property,” said Fernandez.
He said, “Everyone who may be on duty from the managers to the attendants, knows to be on alert when we get rain and what to do, especially if it’s large amounts like how it has been recently.”
South Central Solid Waste Authority manages solid waste and recyclables for residents and businesses throughout Doña Ana County. Contact SCSWA at (575) 528-3800 or visit www.SCSWA.net.
Caption: Embankments like these outside the weight station at the Amador Transfer Station helps SCSWA make sure that rainwater stays on their property and doesn’t run off into the nearby pecan orchard.