In an attempt to control sediment pollution, DEP adopted strict rules and regulations concerning Erosion and Sedimentation Control in 1972. The rules and regulations, known as PA CODE TITLE 25 CHAPTER 102 EROSION CONTROLS states “… any landowner… engaged in earthmoving activities shall develop, implement and maintain erosion and sedimentation control measures which effectively minimize accelerated erosion and sedimentation. These erosion and sedimentation measures must be set forth in a plan… and must be available at the site at all times during construction.”

To this end, one of the District’s primary focuses is the Erosion and Sedimentation Control (E&SC) Program. The emphasis of the overall program is the conservation of soil and water resources. The District administers the E&S program through a delegation agreement with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Bureau of Water Quality. Through the program, the District reviews and approves E&S control plans for earthmoving sites. Inspections of the sites are conducted to assure the plans are properly implemented, controls are installed, and sequences are followed.

Erosion is an ongoing process. It occurs naturally and continues to be a dominant force in shaping the earth’s landscape. It has the potential to become problematic when man exposes bare soil as a result of agricultural practices, timbering or excavation. With a lack of vegetation to protect the soil beneath, wind and water can readily erode and transport soil into nearby waterways, clogging them with fine sediments known as silt, clay or colloids. Runoff from bare soil may also contain chemicals, heavy metals and other pollutants that may be washed into the waters of the Commonwealth. The goal of this program is to control erosion and the resulting pollution to the waters of the Commonwealth.  Soil erosion occurs naturally on all land, with at least 40 percent of the total soil erosion resulting from activities such as construction, logging, and natural events.

When is an Erosion and Sediment Control (E&SC) Plan needed?  This is a question that we at the District get asked regularly by municipalities, consulting firms and private individuals. As per the amended Chapter 102 Erosion and Sedimentation Control regulations (January 2000), development of an erosion and sedimentation control plan is required for all earth disturbances of 5,000 square feet or greater, earth disturbances in High Quality or Exceptional Value watersheds or if other DEP permits require it.  This would include timber harvesting or silviculture activities, which must submit a timber harvest plan.

Projects having less than 5,000 square feet of earth disturbance are still, however required to develop, implement and maintain erosion and sedimentation control Best Management Practices (BMPs). They are only exempt from having the District review the plan.  Additionally, persons proposing timber harvesting activities or road maintenance which disturb twenty-five (25) or more acres must apply for an Erosion and Sediment Control Permit

The Erosion and Sediment Control Plan should include all of the following 11 items:

1)     The existing topographic features of the project area and surrounding area.

2)     The types, depths, slope, locations, and limitations of the soils. (This may be obtained from the Warren County Soil Survey).

3)     The characteristics of the earth disturbance activity, including the past, present, and proposed land uses, and the proposed alteration to the project site.

4)     The amount of runoff from the project area and its upstream watershed area.

5)     The location of Waters of The Commonwealth, which may receive runoff within or from the project site and their classification pursuant to Chapter 93.

6)     A written depiction of the location and type of perimeter and on site Best Management Practices (BMPs) used before, during, and after the earth disturbance activity.

7)     A sequence of BMP installation and removal in relation to the scheduling of earth disturbance activities, prior to, during, and after earth disturbance activities.

8)     Supporting Calculations.

9)     Plan drawings.

10) A maintenance program, which provides for inspection of BMPs on a weekly basis and after each measurable precipitation event, including the repair of the BMPs to ensure effective and efficient operation.

11) Procedures which ensure that the proper measures for recycling or disposal of materials associated with or from the project site will be undertaken in accordance with this title.

Those projects which disturb greater than 1.0 acre require a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction Activities. As part of this permit, an approved erosion control plan is required. Therefore, a plan must be submitted to our office for review. (Click on  NPDES to get additional information on NPDES and point source discharges.)

Earth disturbance activities associated with agricultural plowing or tilling, timber harvesting, and road maintenance do not require coverage under a NPDES permit. Persons conducting timber harvesting or road maintenance activities which involve 25 acres or more of earth disturbance must apply for and obtain coverage for an Erosion and Sedimentation Control Permit.

Persons conducting agricultural plowing and tilling activities are required to develop a conservation plan and implement agricultural BMPs, but continue to be exempt from permitting requirements. Any farming activity that does not have a conservation plan or needs an updated plan is encouraged to contact the District.