How to Use Drones for Stormwater Pollution Prevention Planning (SWPPP)

Land development projects can use drones to manage SWPPP, which will reduce costs and improve compliance.
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The rainy season is upon us, and you might be thinking about your Stormwater Pollution Prevention Planning (SWPPP) on your projects. SWPPP management is essential to keeping your project in environmental and legal compliance so you can avoid costly fines, lawsuits, or stopping work to correct mistakes. SWPPP can be performed in several ways using various tools such as technical manuals, flow charts, drainage maps, etc., but drones offer benefits not available with traditional methods. Drones capture 3D site surveys and make SWPPP efforts much more efficient because they provide high quality topographical data to construction teams. Combining drone surveys and a site work platform like TraceAir improves several SWPPP workflows.

Develop your data capture plan

Whether you manage your own drone program in-house or use a turnkey provider, it's crucial to capture 3D site surveys on a regular basis (as often as weekly) to ensure you're working with the most current information. The upside of using a turnkey solution is that data processing happens overnight, so you'll have access to 3D topographical data the day after the drone flight. Flying drones in-house or through your contractor is always an option, however data processing isn't nearly as fast, and the data isn't accessible by the entire project team. Once drone data is captured, using photogrammetry software is necessary to visualize and analyze data about your site.

Conduct remote site inspections

Drones make visual site inspections far less time consuming and costly since much of the work can be done virtually using a platform like TraceAir. Your entire project team, including contractors and engineers, will be able to stay on top of SWPPP efforts when they have access to 3D project data. Land developers can save hours of time time and thousands of dollars in consultant costs by looking at a 3D survey of the jobsite with the construction team while planning SWPPP measures. By  minimizing or eliminating trips to the project site to perform visual inspections, land developers can realize significant savings.

Create or adjust stormwater diversion plans

Stormwater diversion plans will require several updates throughout the rainy season, usually with the help of an environmental manager or consultant. Previously done in CAD, there can be a lot of back and forth between engineers and project teams to develop these plans. Using drones and a site work platform saves a lot of time and money in meetings by allowing teams to collaborate using a visual platform to develop the right solution quickly.  SWPPP programs that use drones and a site work platform like TraceAir helps contractors comply with environmental requirements more easily since they have current, accurate information and better oversight from environmental managers during construction.

Avoid over purchasing of materials

Many land developers estimate that up to 25% of their SWPPP budget is spent on wasted materials due to poor planning. One of the simplest ways to eliminate or minimize waste is to obtain regular, accurate measurements of critical project areas. Use weekly drone scans of your project, coupled with precise measurement tools, to correctly calculate coverage areas and order the exact amount of SWPPP materials needed.  Materials are expensive and SWPPP is often a large percentage of the total construction budget, so it's important to ensure that SWPPP materials are used efficiently to keep your SWPPP costs low.

Get started!

Drone technology has become more widely used in land development in the last few years, and savvy developers, homebuilders, and contractors are using it to stay on top of SWPPP throughout the rainy season. Now that you know more about how SWPPP management can be improved through the use of drones, let TraceAir get you set up with our turnkey site development solution. Our drones will capture 3D site surveys of your project, and we'll process the data overnight. As soon as the next day, you'll be able to improve SWPPP workflows such as remote site inspections, develop plans for stormwater diversion and dewatering, and make better material purchasing decisions with our easy-to-use platform. Schedule a demo to see how it works!

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