Any construction projects involving activities and/or equipment on or near water need to have contingency plans for containment of discharges into or onto the water.  40 CFR 116 defines a discharge as:  "Including, but not limited to, any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, or dumping a controlled material or substance into or onto the water."


Further, 40 CFR 117 states any person in charge of a vessel or an onshore or an offshore facility shall, as soon as they have knowledge of any discharge of a controlled substance from such vessel or facility in quantities equal to or exceeding the reportable quantity, immediately notify the appropriate agency of the U.S. Government.


Any discharge must be reported and action should be taken to immediately contain and/or clean it up.


Report the Condition if:

·       The hazardous substance has the potential to leave the property by run-off, sewers, tile lines, culverts, drains, utility lines, or some other conduit, or,

·       The hazardous substance has the potential to reach a water of the state – either surface water or groundwater or,

·       The hazardous substance can be detected in the air at the boundaries of the facility property by the senses (sight and smell) or by monitoring equipment or,

·       There is a potential threat to the public health and safety or,

·       Local officials (Fire department, law enforcement, Hazmat, public health, and emergency management) respond to the incident or,

·       The release exceeds a Federal Reportable Quantity (RQ).

The State of Iowa requires any person manufacturing, storing, handling, transporting, or disposing of a hazardous substance to notify the Iowa DNR of the occurrence of a hazardous condition.


The notification should be made as soon as possible but not later than six hours after the onset or discovery of the hazardous condition.


Notification should be made to Iowa DNR’s 24-hour Emergency Spill Response telephone number – 515-725-8694 and to the local law enforcement agency.


The notification should include as many of the following details as known:

·        Location of the hazardous condition.

·        Time and date of onset or discovery of the hazardous condition.

·        Name of the material, the manufacturer’s name and volume of material

·        The medium (land, water or air) in which the hazardous condition occurred or exists.

·        Name, address and telephone number of the party responsible for the hazardous condition (in most instances, this would be the contractor or material supplier).

·        Time and date of the verbal report to the Iowa DNR

·        Weather conditions at the time of the hazardous condition onset or discovery.

·        Name, mailing address and telephone number of the person reporting the hazardous condition.


In addition, the Office of Construction should also be notified of the spill.


A written report is also required to be submitted to the Iowa DNR within 30 days of the spill.


Additional information is available on Iowa DNR’s website http://www.iowadnr.gov/spills/index.html


Reportable Quantities

A reportable quantity depends on what has been spilled.  40 CFR 117 lists Federal requirements for Reportable Quantities (RQ's).  Since it is almost impossible to "after‑the‑fact" quantify anything spilled into the water, the following will be field guidelines:

n  ANY fuel or petroleum products which produce a noticeable sheen have to be reported to the Office of Construction and Materials.  Obviously, some discretion will have to be used since a single drop of oil will produce a sheen.  One drop is probably not significant, but one gallon is.

n  ANY paint, or paint waste will be reportable.  Again some discretion is needed, but there is very little latitude.  That is why some type of emergency containment system is recommended for bridge painting projects over water.

n  ALL occurrences of herbicides and/or pesticides discharged into water have to be reported.

n  ANY foreign liquids such as curing compound discharged into water have to be reported.



Iowa DNR has developed rules for plugging and abandoning wells.  (Refer to Chapters 39 and Chapter 82 in 567 Iowa Administrative Code 567 IAC ).The rules require that all sealed wells are to be reported by the owner to the Iowa DNR within 30 days after sealing.  They also require a registered well contractor to do the work.  A sample "Abandoned Water Well Plugging Record" (DNR Form 542‑1226) is included in Appendix 10‑6.  The well contractor shall fill out this form and submit it to the project engineer.  The project engineer shall sign as the “owner’s agent” and forward the completed form to the Iowa DNR.  A copy of the signed form should be placed in the project file.




If a Contractor is planning to construct dewatering wells, the Contractor shall be aware of the following permits or approvals that may be required:


1.     Private Water Well Construction Permit: 

Required for temporary dewatering wells when they are 20 feet or greater in depth.  This permit authorizes construction of a well at the address listed on the permit application and access of the groundwater under the property. In general, the local county will issue both state and county private well construction permits, but in some cases, the Iowa DNR will work with participating counties to collect permitting information and then perform the permitting at the state level. More information can be found at:  http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environmental-Protection/Water-Quality/Private-Well-Program/Construction-Permits


2.     Registration of Minor Nonrecurring Use of Water: 

Required for projects where at least 25,000 gallons of water is used in a 24-hour period but which are of no more than a one-year duration.  See Construction Manual 2.14for more information.


3.     Well Construction Discharge - NPDES General Permit #6:

Required if well construction related wastewater will reach a Water of the United States.  More information can be found at:   http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environmental-Protection/Water-Quality/Private-Well-Program/Construction-Discharge-GP6


4.     Dewatering Discharge:

Discharge of uncontaminated groundwater is covered under NPDES General Permit #2, which is obtained for construction sites that disturb 1 acre or more.  For dewatering on DOT project sites, permit coverage is obtained by the DOT.  For dewatering of contractor furnished borrow sites, permit coverage shall be obtained by the contractor.