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 and any questions specific to those concerns should be directed here
1. I am planning on adding an addition/parking pad/driveway to my home. Do I need a sediment control permit from MDE?
This will depend on the size of the project and the total amount of area that is disturbed. Projects disturbing more than 5,000 square feet or moving more than 100 cubic yards of material require a grading permit and an approved erosion and sediment control plan. These plans are typically approved by the local jurisdiction as part of the building permit process. Find the contact information for your jurisdiction here
. Your local government may have stricter minimum disturbance requirements, so it is recommended that you check with them.
2. A construction site down the street is creating a lot of dirt on the street in front of my house from all the truck traffic- is this acceptable under State law?
If the site is required to have a grading permit, it must have an approved erosion and sediment control plan. These plans require management practices to minimize the loss of material from the work site, whether it be through runoff or via the tracking of construction vehicles. Issuance and enforcement of grading permits is typically the responsibility of the local jurisdiction (town, county), but in some cases it may be enforced by the State of Maryland if the local jurisdiction has not been delegated the authority to do so by the Maryland Department of the Environment. See this list of jurisdictions
that are delegated and the associated contact information/reporting hotline. These jurisdictions maintain a program to investigate and resolve all issues related to erosion and sediment control as authorized by MDE, and concerns within these areas should be directed to the local number listed. If your jurisdiction is not listed, report sediment pollution concerns to the Department’s Compliance Program
3. We have a neighborhood pond that is fed by a small stream. The pond has been muddy and discolored all summer. Does MDE investigate this sort of situation? We think it may be coming from a construction site upstream.
Discharge of pollutants is restricted to permitted activities that are regulated by a local program or, in absence of that, by the State. If it originates from an active construction site, you should contact the delegated local erosion and sediment control enforcement authority. If there is no local program for erosion and sediment control, you may also contact the local stormwater program to investigate this as an “illicit discharge” issue. If neither of these local programs exist, please contact MDE. See this list of jurisdictions
that have a local erosion and sediment control program or a local stormwater program and the associated contact information/reporting “hotline”. If your jurisdiction is not listed, report sediment pollution concerns to the Department’s Compliance Program
4. A new automotive detailing business has opened in our town. It appears that the business is allowing soapy car wash water to go into the nearest storm drain. Is this an allowable practice?
No, this is not an allowable practice under Maryland law. All incorporated political jurisdictions within the State of Maryland that own or maintain a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) are required to obtain a MS4 Discharge Permit, which requires the jurisdiction to maintain and control the water quality of discharges into and out of that system. The introduction of pollutants such as commercial wash water or other contaminants to this system is prohibited, and the permittee has the authority and responsibility to eliminate unauthorized discharges to the system. Please refer to this list of jurisdictions
with Stormwater Management Programs and the associated contact information to report pollution concerns.
5. The road in front of a nearby concrete plant is always covered with white material coming from the trucks leaving the plant. Whenever it rains, this material enters a nearby stream, turning it cloudy and off colored. Is this acceptable under current environmental law?
No, this is not an allowable practice under Maryland law. Please refer to this list of jurisdictions
for contact information to report pollution concerns.
6. I saw some painting contractors washing their tools off and dumping buckets of white liquid into the storm drain- how can I report this?
7. We have street flooding in our neighborhood every time there is a heavy rainstorm. Who can we report this to get it fixed?
Street and roadway maintenance is typically the responsibility of the local jurisdiction (town, city or county) unless the affected roadway is a State road. Localized flooding can be caused by many factors that may or may not be related to sediment control or local construction projects. Maintenance of the storm drains is a requirement for any jurisdiction governed by an MS4 discharge permit. Please refer to this page
for a list of Maryland jurisdictions with stormwater management programs along with the associated contact information to report problems or concerns related to drainage and flooding.