Erosion and Sediment Control
Managing State and Local Regulatory Programs on Erosion and Sedimentation Control
Maintaining control of erosion and sedimentation on construction sites is dependent upon implementing an efficient and effective program. This presentation introduces the state of North Carolina’s forty-six year old erosion and sedimentation program as one that is tasked with administering and enforcing the state Sedimentation Pollution Control Act of 1973. The presentation will start with an overview of demographics within the state of North Carolina and the people we serve, explain how the NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) is organized, which will transition into an introduction of the Sedimentation Pollution Control Program within the Department. A brief timeline of the history of this program may be compared to that of the federal Clean Water Act and the NPDES program. Program components include plan reviews, inspections and compliance, technical support and outreach, and oversight of local programs with delegated authority for administering and enforcing the Act.
The Sedimentation Pollution Control Program either coordinates with or consults other government entities. Enforcement of federal or other state permits is often coordinated alongside other programs within the NCDEQ. Delegation for administering the program is granted to over 50 local government agencies and the NC Department of Transportation. Consultations with locally delegated erosion and sediment control programs and NCDOT staff through program audits by the NCDEQ ensure agency initiatives which are pursuant to the Act. Likewise, consultations such as those in the form of trainings and ordinance reviews provided to local governments overseen by the state program have helped to provide uniformity in the application of the law. The program components mentioned above and the state and local governments that help implement them are an integral part of satisfying the state’s NPDES MS4 and Construction Stormwater permit requirements. As such, state program staff are often interviewed by the EPA.
In addition to its accountability to the EPA, the Sedimentation Pollution Control Program answers to the North Carolina legislature. This presentation will also cover the recent performance audit undertaken on behalf of the Program Evaluation Division (PED) and presented to the Joint Legislative Program Oversight Committee. Findings and recommendations from the report were a result of data collected through the program.
Outputs using the data collected from each of the program components include items such as the number of plan approvals versus disapprovals issued per year, the number of inspections conducted per year, the number of workshops or training events conducted, the trend in the number of active projects over the years, the trend in the amount of acreage approved for disturbance over the years, and enforcement statistics. Metrics towards meeting both statutory and policy goals include the percentage of plan reviews that are conducted within deadlines, the frequency with which inspections are conducted, the frequency with which locally delegated program audits are conducted, and others. Measuring performance against statutory or policy goals determines program strengths, weaknesses and hence, opportunities for improvement.
The state Sedimentation Program assists the state Sedimentation Control Commission in their quasi-judicial duties of developing administrative code, reviewing program delegations, developing technical publications, and making enforcement decisions. The outputs mentioned above are presented to the Commission for feedback on the program’s performance. Their feedback along with the PED’s report provided insight into improvements planned for implementation that will be shared with the audience. Tips to prepare for an audit, such as when being interviewed or in responding to requests for information, will also be shared.