Erosion is a continual issue in environmental science. Contributing factors include climate change, construction of new developments and other human activities. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, eroded soil endangers water resources by reducing water quality and causing siltation in aquatic habitats for local species. Repairs to sewer lines and stormwater drainage systems may also be more frequent as a result of erosion. In construction, improper clearing and grading can cause the loss of native vegetation necessary for the surrounding terrestrial and aquatic habitats.
At Tioga, we assist clients with reducing their environmental impact in several ways, and erosion is no exception. Throughout the due diligence, design and construction phases, erosion control is a major component. Several years ago, we discussed the importance of erosion control and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s regulations surrounding it. Now, we take a deeper dive into what projects and developments require erosion control to help safeguard the environment and comply with national and state laws.
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System requires a General Permit for Discharges of Stormwater Associated with Construction Activities, or CGP, for construction sites that involve “clearing, grading or excavation” of one or more acres of land. Examples of such projects are housing subdivisions, industrial buildings, utility lines and roads. To get approval for a CGP, applicants need to complete a Notice of Intent for Construction Activity that clearly outlines the site and construction area and identifiers that indicate areas of receiving water and stormwater.
Because stormwater runoff from construction sites can cause significant harm to rivers, lakes and coastal waters, the NOI must also include a site-specific Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan. This document identifies activities and conditions at the construction site that could cause water pollution. In the document, the construction operator describes the activities the construction team will do to prevent stormwater contamination and control sedimentation and erosion.
Inspections at permitted construction sites are required twice weekly, at least 72 hours apart, throughout the time that soils are exposed or disturbed at a project. TDEC requires certification through the Fundamentals of Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control Level 1 course. Based on these inspections, inadequate control measures or those in disrepair must be replaced, modified or repaired.
Erosion control is critical to not only a project’s success, but also to the protection of our natural resources. Tioga has the in-house capabilities to provide permitting and inspections related to erosion control. To find out if your next project requires a CGP, contact our team today.