Erosion and Sediment Control Model Ordinance: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
During the construction process, soil is highly vulnerable to erosion by wind and water. Eroded soil endangers water resources by reducing water quality and causing the siltation of aquatic habitat for fish and other desirable species. The loss of topsoil is also a serious concern given most plant species rely on this intensely organic layer of soil for nutrients. This model ordinance is meant to help communities promote the public welfare by guiding, regulating and controlling the design, construction, use and maintenance of any development or other activity that disturbs or breaks the topsoil or results in the movement of earth on land.
The EPA's model ordinance provides language communities can use to reduce erosion and control sediment in the construction, use, and maintenance of any development. The ordinance first introduces the purpose of the regulation. The ordinance then discusses the permits that are required to begin the development of a site and the timeline of the review and approval process for these permits. The ordinance closes with a discussion of inspection and enforcement requirements.
The language of this ordinance is meant to be flexible so any local government can use it once the appropriate “blanks” are filled in with the appropriate erosion and sediment control agency and municipality and specific, local concerns are addressed. The reader should note this ordinance is not an exhaustive listing of all the language needed for a local ordinance, but it represents a good base that communities can build upon and customize to be consistent with the staff resources available in their locality.