Erosion and Sediment Control

P: (336) 222-5050 F: (336) 513-5467

image002.jpgAll land-disturbing activities involving an area greater than one acre (except mining, forestry, or agricultural activities) are required by law in the State of North Carolina to operate under an approved erosion control plan. This plan must be obtained before work begins on a site. Although tracts containing less than one acre do not require permits, adequate measures to prevent erosion and contain sediment on site are still required.

The City of Burlington Engineering Department administers an erosion control program within the City limits and extraterritorial jurisdictional area. This program operates under the direction of the Land Quality Section of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) which enforces the requirements of the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act of 1973 on a statewide basis.

The Sedimentation Pollution Control Act of 1973 is a performance-oriented law that allows flexibility in determining the most economical and effective methods for controlling erosion and sediment. The North Carolina Sedimentation Control Commission sponsored the development of the North Carolina Erosion and Sedimentation Control Planning and Design Manual, a basic reference used during plan preparation, review, implementation, and enforcement to minimize and control the effects of erosion and sedimentation on surrounding land, water bodies and ecosystems.

Plans are required to be prepared by, or under the direction of, a Professional Engineer, Professional Land Surveyor, Registered Architect, or Registered Landscape Architect. Since every site has unique characteristics, each erosion and sedimentation control plan should be site specific. However, the Design Manual contains a checklist of items to be incorporated into a typical plan. City of Burlington Engineering Specifications and Standard Details are also available to assist the designer.

Three sets of drawings showing the site, its features, and the proposed erosion and sedimentation control plan should be submitted to the Engineering Department for review. A completed Financial Responsibility/Ownership Form (*PDF File Format Acrobat Reader™ ) and an acreage-based permit fee are also required to be submitted with the proposed plan.

Staff engineers review the plan and if it is found to be incomplete or inadequate, the designer will be requested to provide additional information or to revise the plan. Once the plan is approved, a Land-Disturbing Activity Permit is issued. During implementation of the plan and subsequent construction, Engineering Department staff members inspect the site to determine if the approved plan has been implemented and to ensure compliance with the law. Any person or party engaging in a non-compliant land-disturbing activity will be directed to stop work and will be issued a Notice of Violation. Violators are subject to a fine of $500.00 per day for each day that the site is not in compliance, and may be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor, which may include a fine not exceeding $5000.00.

Examples of violations include: 

  • No approved plan
  • Failure to follow an approved plan
  • Failure to provide adequate ground cover
  • Insufficient measures to retain sediment on site
  • Failure to take all reasonable measures
  • Inadequate buffer zone
  • Graded slopes and fills too steep
  • Unprotected exposed slopes
  • Failure to maintain erosion control measures

Proper installation and maintenance are factors critical to the performance of all erosion and sedimentation control measures. All measures should be installed as shown on the approved plan, and should be inspected by the contractor or developer on a weekly basis and after all storm events.

Prompt maintenance of deficient measures can help to maintain compliance.

Sites with a disturbed area of less than 1 acre are not required to obtain a permit or plan approval but are required to stay compliant to all parts of the Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Ordinance along with the NC Sedimentation Pollution Control Act of 1973.  In order to obtain a building permit a Certification of Intent to Disturb Less Than 1 Acre may be required.  Guidance can be found in the City’s Erosion Control Requirements for Single Site Construction.

Please contact the Engineering Department at (336) 222-5050 to discuss matters pertaining to erosion and sedimentation control in the City of Burlington and its extraterritorial jurisdiction.