Erosion & Sedimentation Pollution Control Program


The Juniata County Conservation District maintains a Level II delegation with the Dept. of Environmental Protection to administer Chapter 102 of the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law for Juniata County. This chapter details issues dealing with erosion and sedimentation control for earthmoving activities. The District reviews E&S (Erosion & Sediment) Control Plans for permitted NPDES and non-permitted earthmoving sites. They also review E&S Control Plans for permitted and non-permitted logging sites. The District is responsible for inspecting earthmoving sites for adequate E&S control implementation. Permitted sites are inspected on a regular basis; while non-permitted sites are inspected only on a complaint basis. The District provides information and assistance to the public upon request.

Why E&S Controls?

Sediment loading is the largest pollutant to our streams in Pennsylvania. Sediment gets into the gills of fish and other aquatic organisms and prevents them from being able to breath. Sediment blocks out light for aquatic plants to grow. Sediment also chokes out the organisms that depend on the bottom of the streams for life. When a stream becomes too polluted, it gets listed as being impaired on the 303d list for impaired waters that the DEP composes. E&S Controls are implemented to alleviate the problem of sediment pollution to the waterways of the Commonwealth.

When are E&S Control Plans Required?

In Pennsylvania it is required that any earthmoving activity over 5,000 square feet must have an E&S Control Plan, with the controls outlined in the plan that must be implemented to prevent sediment from leaving the site. Sites that are smaller than 5,000 square feet are not required to have a written plan, but the erosion must still be controlled.

Any earth disturbance, except agricultural tillage, that is 1.0 acres or larger must have a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit and approved Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control Plan.

The E&S plan must be submitted to the County Conservation District for review if required by the local municipality or if requested by the District. The E&S plan must also be available at all times at the site of the earth disturbance project. Failure to have an E&S plan on site is a violation of Chapter 102 of the PA Clean Streams Law and both landowners and their contractors may be held responsible for those violations.

Items to include in an E&S Plan:

A small projects packet and small projects example plan are available at the District and at the link labeled Small Projects Package at the bottom of the page.

What are some E&S controls?

Controls, or Best Management Practices (BMPs), can be constructed practices or management of earthmoving timing. Constructed controls range in complexity from straw bale barriers to large basins with baffle systems. Management controls include: limiting the area being disturbed at one time, keeping buffer areas (ex. grass strips) between the disturbed area and a sensitive area (like a stream, wetland), and immediately seeding and mulching areas that are disturbed. Other controls include: silt fence, silt sock, rock filters, jute netting, erosion control matting, vegetated swales, vegetated filter strips or buffers, and sediment traps, and sediment basins. Most of the structural BMPs can be converted into Post Construction Stormwater Management BMPs. More information on BMPs can be found in the Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control Program Manual at www.dep.pa.gov.

When is a permit required?

NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction Activities is required for construction sites 1.0 acre or more than one acre of earth disturbance, over the life of the project. The permit must be in-hand before earthwork begins. The requirements for an NPDES permit are set by Federal and State regulations.

NPDES permits can be considered either "individual" or "general." There are 16 different criteria to determine whether an Individual Permit is required or a general permit is required. The most common requirement for an Individual permit is based on the location of the project. If the project is located in a drainage basin(s) designated as "High Quality" or "Exceptional Value," an Individual Permit would be required. Official designation of drainage basins and streams are listed in Chapter 93 of the Pennsylvania Code.

An NPDES permit application consists of several forms, letters of notification, an erosion control plan, a post construction stormwater plan, ongoing operation and maintenance of permanent BMPs, and fees. All forms can be obtained from DEP's website (see links below) or from the Conservation District office. The components of an NPDES permit application are stated in a checklist found on DEP's website (see links below), one for an individual permit, and one for a general permit.

When Is an Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan (ESCP) Required?

The law requires the implementation and maintenance of erosion and sediment controls for any earthmoving activity. Only projects having less than 5,000 square feet (about 0.1 acre) of earth disturbance are exempt from developing a written plan. They are, however, required to implement and maintain erosion and sedimentation controls.

Those projects which disturb 5,000 square feet or more of land are required to develop a written plan, then implement and maintain the erosion controls on the site. The written plan is required to be available on the site at all times. However, if the municipality requires an approval letter from the Conservation District, then it is necessary to submit the erosion control plan to our office for review. All projects that disturb 1.0 acre (one acre) or greater require an NPDES permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction Activities. As part of this permit, an approved erosion control plan is required. Therefore, anyone who wishes to disturb one acre or greater needs to submit an E&S plan and NPDES Permit Package to our office for review.

Earth disturbance activities associated with agricultural plowing or tilling do not require coverage under an NPDES permit. Persons conducting agricultural plowing and tilling activities are required to develop Agricultural Erosion & Sediment Control Plans or Conservation Plans and implement agricultural erosion controls. The E&S plan is that portion of a conservation plan identifying erosion controls to minimize accelerated erosion and sedimentation, and also addresses runoff from ACA's (animal concentration areas). Any farming activity that does not have a conservation plan, Ag E&S Plan, or needs an updated plan is encouraged to contact the District for assistance.

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.

For more information, please contact Michael Lock, Resource Conservation Technician, at 717-436-8953, extension 5.

AUTHORITY The Juniata County Conservation District (JCCD) is a delegated authority to administer in Juniata County the Commonwealth's Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control (ESPC) program under PA Code Title 25 Chapter 102 Rules and Regulations and the Clean Streams Law in Juniata County. Act 217, the Conservation District law, permits Conservation Districts to charge fees for services, under certain circumstances.