Erosion and Sedimentation Control
Sediments are Pollutants!
Rain can wash soil from unvegetated areas (this is called erosion) and deposit it into the stormwater collection system or surface waters (this is called sedimentation). The greatest potential for erosion occurs when vegetation is removed, such as when land is cleared for construction.
Sediment can smother creek habitat important for fish and other aquatic species. Aquatic insects are often impacted and are the base of the food chain. These species are important for larger wildlife like fish, birds, otters, and frogs. Sediment may also transport hazardous materials like oils, hydraulic fluids, pesticides, and fertilizers. Sediment in the stormwater collection system can cause flooding and can be expensive to remove. Most stormwater systems flow directly into local water without any treatment so sediment and the associated hazards can be carried into our waterways. Best management practices help to protect water quality and wildlife.
Construction Erosion and Sediment Controls
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Sediment must stay on site at construction sites.
The best way to do this is to disturb as little area as possible and clear vegetation in phases. Erosion and sedimentation controls (or Best Management Practices) must be used to keep disturbed soils stable. Typical controls include silt fences, inlet protection, and a gravel construction entrance. Construction sites are regulated by the public works departments of the municipality or county and by the State. However, ACEPD will take enforcement action through the Water Quality Code if necessary.
A construction site needs a permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Department (FDEP) if the site will disturb more than one acre of land or if it may discharge to a water of the state or a permitted stormwater collection system. Download a permit application to determine if your site needs a permit. As part of the FDEP permit, a stormwater pollution prevention plan must be submitted.
Dewatering permits are required for all de-watering activities on construction sites. To obtain these permits you must contact the St Johns River Water Management District or the Suwannee River Water Management District.
Local governments review stormwater pollution prevention plans for completeness and inspect erosion and sediment controls to insure that the plans are followed.
Alachua County and the Gainesville Clean Water Partnership offer the Florida Stormwater, Erosion, and Sediment Control Inspector Training and Certification Program, annually. Contact Water Resources staff at 352-264-6800 to find the next class.