Ideally, stormwater (rainwater and melted snow) that run off the streets, lawns, and other sites is absorbed into the ground, replenishing aquifers or flowing into rivers and streams. In reality, the impervious surfaces of highly urbanized areas prevent stormwater from being absorbed by the ground. As stormwater can’t seep through pavements, it accumulates rapidly in storm drains and sewer systems, ultimately causing flooding, erosion, and many other problems.
In light of this problem, the need to find proper ways to control and channel excessive volumes of stormwater has led to the need for stormwater management. Unlike other water sectors which usually respond to static and predictable variables, stormwater management often has to deal with highly variable and ever-changing factors such as climatic variations, soil type, vegetation, and land use. This complexity has brought the need for certification among stormwater professionals, to ensure that they can handle the job properly.
Stormwater management is a relatively new field that encompasses a number of technical backgrounds such as engineering, science, law, administration, and landscape architecture. Because of this wide scope, stormwater management cannot be viewed as a one-size-fits-all profession; it requires high levels of experience and expertise. For this reason, professional certification is very important in the stormwater management field.
Certification guarantees that stormwater professionals have the necessary expertise in handling erosion and sediment control. It enhances technical and professional credibility and increases recognition and marketability as a service provider. Professionals with certification can satisfy the “qualified person” requirement set by local and state agencies before issuing a Construction Permit program.
No company wants to hire inexperienced and unqualified professionals; it’s a bad business practice. Certification is one way for companies to verify a potential employee’s claim of professionalism and competence. Companies could also make use of certification as a means to gauge who among its contractors are eligible for promotion or advancement.
To a certain extent, the public also benefits from stormwater certification. It is the public’s assurance that the professionals handling their area’s stormwater management – from controlling flooding and erosions to raising public awareness about water quality – are qualified. Nobody wants an incompetent and unskilled person handling important tasks; for this reason, certification is of utmost importance. For more information, go to epa.gov/oaintrnt/stormwater/index.htm.
Benefits of Certification for Stormwater Professionals