Erosion and Sediment Control Frequently Asked Questions for the Construction Industry
Note: This FAQ is limited to issues related to erosion and sediment control and does not address any permitting or approval processes outside that scope. Impacts to wetlands, areas of special environmental concern, stream buffers, critical area impacts, buffers, etc. are handled by the Department’s Wetlands and Waterways Program; any questions specific to those concerns should be directed here
For questions related to the Responsible Personnel Certification Training, please refer to the FAQ available here
1. Where can I find the latest Maryland erosion and sediment control construction guidelines and regulations?
The “2011 Maryland Standard and Specifications for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control” may be found here
2. Do I or my company need any sort of contractors’ license to install silt fence?
Your company may need other Maryland business licenses to operate commercially, but there is no specific license or certification required to install any type of sediment control practice, such as a silt fence. It is recommended that anyone engaged in installing erosion and sediment control practices be technically familiar with these practices. A good source of training in this area is the Maryland Responsible Person training course which may be found here
3. My landscaping company has been hired to install a section of new driveway at a private residence. Do I need any sort of permit or approval to do this? Do I need to have a plan stamped by an engineer?
This question is best referred to the local jurisdiction where the site is located- this may be a town, city, or county. The jurisdiction will have a permitting and approval process for projects of this type. Depending on the size of the project, a grading permit and associated erosion and sediment control plan may not be required, but it is likely other building permits will be required by the jurisdiction. The jurisdiction will also determine if the project requires the design services of a professional engineer, or PE.
4. How do I obtain a sediment control permit for an upcoming job I have scheduled?
Refer to the local jurisdiction for local permitting requirements. Contact the E&SC plan approval authority (e.g., SCD) for information on how to submit plans.
5. My plumbing company needs to install roughly 200 feet of sewer pipe to connect an existing residence to the municipal sewer main. Do I need to install sediment controls?
By State law, if less than 5,000 square feet or 100 cubic yards of soil is disturbed, a grading permit and associated sediment control plan is not required. However, the jurisdiction that issued the plumbing permit or connection permit may require some sediment controls if there is the possibility of sediment discharging from the work area that has the possibility to pollute, or as a default requirement associated with the plumbing/connection permit. Site conditions/location as well as the local jurisdiction’s requirements will determine what is required if the disturbed area does not meet the 5000 SF threshold. Your local government may have stricter minimum disturbance requirements, so it is recommended that you check with them.
6. I’d like to go over the sediment control plans for a small job with the inspector who will be assigned to the site- how can I find and contact this inspector?
The department within the local jurisdiction (town, county, city) that implements the erosion and sediment control inspection and enforcement program will assign an inspector to your project. If a pre-construction meeting is required, the inspector should be present at that meeting, or at least be identified and contact information supplied if not present. If the jurisdiction does not have erosion and sediment control inspection authority, they can provide a point of contact with the MDE Compliance office responsible for the area. Find contact information for these programs here
7. What is the difference between a “compost” log and a “filter” log? The sediment control manual is not clear on how these are defined, and where they may be used.
A “compost” log uses a blend of compost material that must meet certain specifications as the filler media. A “filter” log uses material other than compost as the filler media, such as wood chips, wood excelsior, switch grass, or even stone.