Maintaining the state's 40,000 miles of roads involves much more than keeping the pavements smooth. PennDOT's maintenance staff must also keep watch over critically important Stormwater Control Measures (SCMs) to protect the environment.
To better prepare its staff for that challenge, PennDOT has developed
training modules and a field guidebook covering issues involving retention ponds, sand filters, pervious pavement and constructed wetlands.
Rich Heineman, stormwater section chief in PennDOT's Bureau of Maintenance and Operations, has been heading the project, which was underwritten by $50,000 in
STIC Incentive Program funding from the Federal Highway Administration and a $12,500 PennDOT match.
"We've done one pilot training where we asked two or three volunteers from each district to help us make sure the content is right for our target audience," Heineman said. "We're going to have another pilot here in September and then it'll be rolled out statewide shortly after that."
In addition, he said, he and his staff will work with each PennDOT district to see what works best for each's field staff. Plans include one-page summaries, videos and online links.
The guidebook and training will also be made available to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and municipalities across the state.
"The training provides more in-depth knowledge on how SCMs work and what type of factors affect how they function, such as invasive plants or sediment building up in the sites," said Thomas R. Yocum, environmental manager in PennDOT's District 9, based in Hollidaysburg, Blair County.
Buddy Brown, assistant environmental manager in PennDOT's District 2, based in Clearfield, said his team was working on getting an accurate inventory of the SCMs and developing a good inspection schedule. The new guidebook and training will help build on that effort.
"When we can get the assistant county managers and foremen that are in charge of completing the work this training, they will have a good understanding of what kind of SCM they are dealing with and how to maintain it," he said. "I think this training is going to push some consistency out there, and the maintenance foremen will know what they have and be able to create a good maintenance cycle."
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