In August of 1974, the Board of County Commissioners of Guilford County adopted a Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Ordinance. The purpose of this Ordinance is regulation of “land-disturbing activity to control accelerated erosion and sedimentation in order; to prevent the pollution to water and damage to lakes, watercourses, and other public and private property by sedimentation….”
As Guilford County develops more densely and more rapidly, we are beginning to see some of the following problems from individual home building:
- Mud on public streets.
- Bare and eroding side ditches of public streets.
- Mud and silt obstructing drainage culverts.
- Mud filling in stream channels and drainage ways.
- Siltation damage to private and public ponds and lakes.
- Siltation damage to private lawns.
- Siltation to vital and protected wetlands.
Allowing sediment onto adjoining properties, water courses, or public roads is a violation of the Guilford County Ordinances, North Carolina State Laws, and other applicable ordinances. Civil penalties up to $5,000.00 per day may be assessed until site compliance is met. Also, land disturbing activities that exceed one acre or more within a tract of land is required to obtain a grading permit. Failure to secure a grading permit can result in enforcement actions including fines, civil penalties, stop work orders, and a hold on certificates of occupancy.
The following steps are recommended to minimize off-site sedimentation:
- Clear and grade no more than is absolutely necessary for building construction.
- Do not disturb side ditches that have a good grass cover.
- Leave a natural wooded or grass buffer where possible on slopes and near property lines.
- Install a gravel entrance into the building site and keep it maintained as needed.
- Install silt fencing, earthen berms, straw wattles, etc. to control muddy water during and after grading. Details on installation of these devices are available from our office at no charge. (Temporary devices have to be maintained regularly and are intended only for short term use.)
- The use of temporary and/or permanent groundcover in conjunction with temporary devices is most effective in preventing soil erosion.
Following these suggestions and using forethought will save money and complications in the long run. Also, the final product will be more attractive.
Please contact the Erosion Control Section of the Guilford County Planning and Development Department at 336-641-3803 if we may be of assistance.