[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of County Commissioners of Worcester County 12-17-1985 as Subtitle II of Title 1 of Bill No. 85-7; amended in its entirety 6-17-2014 by Bill No. 13-1. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Legislative intent. The purpose of this Subtitle is to protect, maintain and enhance the public health, safety and general welfare by establishing minimum requirements and procedures to control the adverse impacts associated with accelerated soil erosion and resultant sedimentation. Minimizing soil erosion and off-site sedimentation will minimize damage to public and private property and assist in the attainment and maintenance of water quality standards.
Statutory authority. The provisions of this Subtitle are enacted pursuant to Title 4, Environment Article, Subtitle 1, of the Annotated Code of Maryland and shall apply to all grading occurring within Worcester County except in the incorporated areas thereof. The application of this Subtitle and the provisions expressed herein shall be the minimum erosion and sediment control requirements and shall not be deemed a limitation or repeal of any other powers granted by State statute.
General interpretations. For the purpose of this Subtitle, certain terms or words used herein shall be interpreted as follows:
The word "person" includes a firm, association, organization, partnership, trust, company or corporation as well as an individual.
The masculine shall include the feminine and the feminine shall include the masculine.
The present tense includes the future tense.
The singular number includes the plural; the plural number includes the singular.
The words "shall," "will" or "must" are mandatory; the words "should" or "may" are permissive.
The word "used" or "occupied" includes the words "intended, designed or arranged to be used or occupied."
Definitions of words and phrases. For the purposes of this Subtitle, the following definitions shall apply:
- The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Water Management Administration (WMA).
- ADVERSE IMPACT
- Any deleterious effect on waters or wetlands, including their quality, quantity, surface area, species composition, aesthetics or usefulness for human or natural uses. Such deleterious effect is or may potentially be harmful or injurious to human health, welfare, safety or property or to biological productivity, diversity or stability or may unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or property, including outdoor recreation.
- AGRICULTURAL BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICE
- An agricultural practice employed for the conservation of resources on a farm as described by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG) for Worcester County, Maryland, as may be amended from time to time.
- AGRICULTURAL LAND MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
- Those methods and procedures used on a farm to further crop and livestock production and conservation of related soil and water resources. The application of agricultural practices shall be governed by the conservation practices developed by the NRCS and listed in the Maryland Technical Guide. Logging and timber removal operations shall not be considered a part of this definition.
- AGRICULTURAL STRUCTURE
- A structure built on a farm used to further crop and livestock production and the conservation of related soil and water resources. The structure may be used for basic processing of products produced on the farm on which it is located. Basic processing does not change the form of the product but does include treatment such as cutting, drying and packing necessary for storing and marketing. Agricultural structures cannot be used for human occupancy nor are they intended for access by the general public.
- Any person, firm, or government agency that executes the necessary forms to apply for a permit or approval to carry out construction of a project.
- BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES (BMP)
- A structural device or nonstructural practice designed to temporarily store or treat stormwater runoff in order to mitigate flooding, reduce pollution, and provide other amenities.
- To remove vegetative ground cover while leaving the root mat intact.
- CONCEPT PLAN
- The first of three plans submitted under the comprehensive review and approval process required by the Act and described in COMAR 26.17.02, as from time to time amended, and which shall include the information necessary to allow an initial evaluation of a proposed project.
- The Maryland Department of the Environment.
- A person undertaking or for whose benefit any or all of the activities covered by this Subtitle are commenced and carried on. General contractors or subcontractors, or both, without a proprietary interest in a project are not included within this definition.
- The Worcester Soil Conservation District.
- DRAINAGE AREA
- That area contributing runoff to a single point measured in a horizontal plane, which is enclosed by a ridge line.
- ENVIRONMENTAL SITE DESIGN (ESD)
- The use of small-scale stormwater management practices, nonstructural techniques, and better site planning to mimic natural hydrologic runoff characteristics and minimize the impact of land development on water resources.
- The process by which the land surface is worn away by the action of wind, water, ice or gravity.
- EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL
- A system of structural and vegetative measures that minimize soil erosion and off-site sedimentation.
- EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL PLAN
- An erosion and sediment control strategy or plan to minimize erosion and prevent off-site sedimentation by containing sediment on site or by passing sediment-laden runoff through a sediment control measure, prepared and approved in accordance with the requirements of this Subtitle and the Standards and Specifications.
- Those land development activities that are not subject to the erosion and sediment control requirements contained in this Subtitle.
- FINAL EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL PLAN
- Associated with the final stormwater management plan, the last of three plans submitted under the comprehensive review and approval process required by the Act and described in COMAR 26.17.02, as from time to time amended. Final erosion and sediment control plans shall be prepared and approved in accordance with the specific requirements of the Worcester Soil Conservation District and this Subtitle and designed in accordance with the Standards and Specifications.
- To cause disturbance of the earth. This shall include but not be limited to any excavating, filling, stockpiling of earth materials, grubbing, root mat or topsoil disturbance or any combination thereof.
- GRADING UNIT
- The maximum contiguous area allowed to be graded at a given time. For the purposes of this Subtitle, a grading unit is twenty acres or less.
- HIGHLY ERODIBLE SOILS
- Those soils with a slope greater than fifteen percent or those soils with a soil erodability factor, K, greater than 0.35 and with slopes greater than five percent.
- INSPECTION AGENCY
- The Worcester County Department of Development Review and Permitting.
- MAXIMUM EXTENT PRACTICABLE (MEP)
- Designing stormwater management systems so that all reasonable opportunities for using ESD planning techniques and treatment practices are exhausted and only where absolutely necessary is a structural BMP implemented.
- A person undertaking activities covered by this Subtitle or for whose benefit such activities are carried on. General contractors or subcontractors, or both, without a proprietary interest in a project are not included with this definition.
- Any person to whom a building or grading permit has been issued.
- Includes the federal government, the state, any county, municipal corporation or other political subdivision of the state or any of their units or an individual, receiver, trustee, guardian, executor, administrator, fiduciary or representative of any kind or any partnership, firm, association, public or private corporation or any of their affiliates or any other entity.
- RESPONSIBLE PERSONNEL
- Any foreman, superintendent or project engineer who is in charge of on-site clearing and grading operations or implementation and maintenance of an erosion and sediment control plan.
- Soils or other surficial materials transported or deposited by the action of wind, water, ice, gravity or artificial means.
- Any tract, lot or parcel of land or combination of tracts, lots or parcels of land which are in one ownership or are contiguous and in diverse ownership where development is to be performed as part of a unit, subdivision or project.
- SITE DEVELOPMENT PLAN
- The second of three plans submitted under the comprehensive review and approval process required by the Act and described in COMAR 26.17.02, as from time to time amended. A site development plan shall include the information necessary to allow a detailed evaluation of a proposed project.
- The prevention of soil movement by any of various vegetative and/or structural means.
- STANDARD PLAN
- A plan or plans for certain minor earth disturbances or forestry operations which are developed by the District and approved by the Maryland Department of the Environment in accordance with the provisions of § NR 1-206(d) hereof, which meet the intent of the 2011 Maryland Standards and Specifications for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control, as may be amended from time to time, and which when chosen by the applicant to be used for a project and approved by the District for use in the particular case may be used in lieu of the three-step plan approval process and detailed submittal requirements as found in § NR 1-206 herein.
- STANDARDS AND SPECIFICATIONS
- The 2011 Maryland Standards and Specifications for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control and any subsequent revisions.
- Water that originates from a precipitation event.
- STORMWATER MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
- Natural areas, ESD practices, stormwater management measures, and any other structure through which stormwater flows, infiltrates, or discharges from a site.
- Modification of the minimum erosion and sediment control requirements for exceptional circumstances such that strict adherence to the requirements would result in unnecessary hardship and not fulfill the intent of this Subtitle.
- The total drainage area contributing runoff to a single point.
- Any area that has saturated soils or periodic high groundwater levels and vegetation adapted to wet conditions and periodic flooding.
No person shall clear or grade land without implementing soil erosion and sediment controls in accordance with the requirements of this Subtitle except as provided within this Subtitle.
Exemptions. The following activities are exempt from the provisions of this Subtitle:
Agricultural land management practices, agricultural BMPs and construction of agricultural structures.
Clearing and grading activities that disturb less than five thousand square feet of land area and disturb less than one hundred cubic yards of earth.
Clearing and grading activities that are subject exclusively to state approval and enforcement under state law and regulations.
The District may grant a written variance from the requirements of the Standards and Specifications if strict adherence to the specifications will result in unnecessary hardship and not fulfill the intent of this Subtitle. The developer shall submit a written request for a variance to the District. The request shall state the specific variances sought and reasons for requesting the variance. The District shall not grant a variance unless and until sufficient specific reasons justifying the variance are provided by the developer.
Review and approval of erosion and sediment control plans.
Unless exempt from the provisions of this Subtitle pursuant to the provisions of § NR 1-204 hereof, a person may not clear or grade land without first obtaining an erosion and sediment control plan approved by the District.
The District shall review the erosion and sediment control plans to determine compliance with this Subtitle and the Standards and Specifications prior to approval. In approving a plan, the District may impose such conditions thereto as may be deemed necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Subtitle, COMAR 26.17.01, as from time to time amended, the Standards and Specifications and the preservation of public health and safety.
At a minimum, a concept plan must include the mapping of natural resources and sensitive areas, including highly erodible soils and slopes greater than fifteen percent, as well as information required under the Worcester County Stormwater Ordinance. These areas are to remain undisturbed or an explanation must be included with either the concept or site development plan describing enhanced protection strategies for these areas during construction.
A site development plan submittal must include all concept plan information and indicate how proposed erosion and sediment control practices will be integrated with proposed stormwater management practices. The latter is to be done through a narrative and an overlay plan showing both ESD and erosion and sediment control practices. An initial sequence of construction and proposed project phasing to achieve the grading unit restriction should be submitted at this time.
An applicant shall submit a final erosion and sediment control plan to the District for review and approval. The plan must include all of the information required by the concept and site development plans as well as any other information required by Subsection (b)(2) herein which has not already been submitted.
The final erosion and sediment control plan shall not be considered approved without the inclusion of the signature and date of signature of the District on the plan.
Approved plans may remain valid for two years from the date of approval unless renewed by the District.
Grandfathering of approved plans:
Any plan that receives final approval after January 9, 2013, must be in compliance with the requirements of this Subtitle and the Standards and Specifications.
A plan that receives final approval by January 9, 2013, may be reapproved under its existing conditions if grading activities have begun on the site by January 9, 2015, with the exception of stabilization requirements.
Stabilization practices on all sites must be in compliance with the requirements of this Subtitle and the Standards and Specifications by January 9, 2013, regardless of when an approved erosion and sediment control plan was approved.
Contents of the erosion and sediment control plan.
The applicant is responsible for submitting an erosion and sediment control plan which meets the requirements of the District, this Subtitle, the Worcester County Stormwater Ordinance, COMAR 26.17.01, as from time to time amended, and the Standards and Specifications, and the Act. The plan shall include sufficient information to evaluate the environmental characteristics of the affected areas, the potential impacts of the proposed grading on water resources and the effectiveness and acceptability of measures proposed to minimize soil erosion and off-site sedimentation. The applicant shall certify on the drawings that all clearing, grading, drainage, construction and development shall be conducted in strict accordance with the plan.
Applicants shall submit the following information for all plans other than standard plans. The information required for standard plans shall be as determined by the District and approved by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) in accordance with Subsection (d) hereof:
A letter of transmittal.
A vicinity map indicating the North arrow, scale and other information necessary to easily locate the property.
Drainage area map(s) at a one inch equals two hundred feet minimum scale showing existing, interim, and proposed topography, proposed improvements, standards, symbols for proposed sediment control features, and pertinent drainage information, including provisions to protect downstream areas from erosion for a minimum of two hundred feet downstream or to the next conveyance system.
The location of natural resources, wetlands, floodplains, highly erodible soils, slopes of fifteen percent or steeper, and any other sensitive areas.
A general description of the predominant soil types on the site, as described by the appropriate soil survey information available through the District or the USDA Natural Resources Soil Conservation Service.
Proposed stormwater management practices.
A plan at scale indicating at least:
The existing and proposed topography and improvements at a scale between one inch equals ten feet and one inch equals fifty feet, with two-foot contours or other approved contour interval. For projects with more than minor grading, interim contours may be used.
Erosion and sediment control provisions to minimize on-site erosion and prevent off-site sedimentation, including:
The salvage and reuse of topsoil.
Details of grading practices.
Phased construction and implementation of grading unit(s) to minimize disturbance, both in extent and duration.
Location and type of all proposed sediment control practices.
Design details and data for all erosion and sediment control practices.
Details of temporary and permanent stabilization measures, including placement of the following statement on the plan: "Following initial soil disturbance or redisturbance, permanent or temporary stabilization shall be completed within three calendar days to the surface of all perimeter dikes, swales, ditches, perimeter slopes and all slopes greater than three horizontal to one vertical and seven days as to all other disturbed or graded areas on the project site." The requirements of this Subsection do not apply to those areas which are shown on the plan and are currently being used for material storage or for those areas on which actual construction activities are currently being performed or to interior areas of a surface mine site where the stabilization material would contaminate the recoverable resource. Maintenance shall be performed as necessary to ensure that the stabilized areas continuously meet the appropriate requirements of the 2011 Maryland Standards and Specifications for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control or any subsequent revisions.
Sequence of construction describing the relationship between the implementation and maintenance of controls, including permanent and temporary stabilization and the various stages or phases of earth disturbance and construction. Any changes or revisions to the sequence of construction must be approved by the District prior to proceeding with construction. The sequence of construction shall, at a minimum, include a schedule and time frame for the following activities:
Request for pre-construction meeting with the inspection agency.
Clearing and grubbing for those areas necessary for installation of perimeter controls.
Construction of perimeter controls.
Remaining clearing and grubbing.
Grading for the remainder of the site.
Utility installation and whether storm drains will be used or blocked after construction.
Construction of buildings, roads, and other construction.
Final grading, landscaping or stabilization.
Installation of stormwater management measures.
Approval from the enforcement authority prior to removal of controls.
Removal of controls and stabilization of areas disturbed by removal of controls.
A statement placed on the plan indicating that the owner/developer or representative shall request that the inspection agency approve work completed in accordance with the approved erosion and sediment control plan, grading or building permit, and this Subtitle, in the following sequence at a minimum:
Prior to the start of earth disturbance.
Upon completion of installation of perimeter erosion and sediment controls but before proceeding with any other earth disturbance or grading. Other building or grading inspection approvals may not be authorized until this initial approval by the inspection agency is made.
Prior to the start of another phase of construction or opening of another grading unit.
Prior to the removal of sediment control practices.
Certification by the owner or developer that any clearing, grading, construction or development or all of these will be done pursuant to this plan and that responsible personnel involved in the construction project will have a certification of training at a Maryland Department of the Environment approved training program for the control of sediment and erosion before beginning the project. The certification of training for responsible personnel requirement may be waived by the District on any project involving four or fewer residential units. Additionally, the owner/developer shall allow right of entry for periodic inspection by the District, the inspection agency, and/or MDE.
A statement placed on the plan indicating that the permittee shall notify the inspection agency forty-eight hours before commencing any land disturbing activity.
Certification by a professional engineer, land surveyor, landscape architect, or forester (for forest harvest operations only) registered in the State that the plans have been designed in accordance with erosion and sediment control laws, regulations, and standards, if required by the District or the Administration.
Any additional information or data deemed appropriate by the District.
Modifications to erosion and sediment control plans. The District may revise approved plans as necessary. Modifications may be requested by a permittee, the inspection agency, or the District in accordance with COMAR 26.17.01.09(H) Plan Modifications, as from time to time amended. The District may develop a list of minor modifications that may be approved as field revisions by the inspection agency. The Administration must approve any list of minor modifications prior to its implementation.
Standard Erosion and Sediment Control Plan. The District may adopt a standard erosion and sediment control plan for activities with minor earth disturbances, such as single-family residences, small commercial and other similar building sites, minor maintenance grading, and minor utility construction. A standard erosion and sediment control plan must meet the requirements of this Subtitle and the Standards and Specifications and the Maryland Department of the Environment must review and approve a standard plan prior to its adoption.
Permit requirements. Unless an activity is exempt from the provisions of this Subtitle pursuant to the provisions of § NR 1-204 hereof, the District must review and approve an erosion and sediment control plan for the site prior to a grading or building permit being issued by the inspection agency.
Permit expiration and renewal. The permit shall expire two years from the date of issuance unless extended or renewed by the District. Application for permit renewal shall be made at least two months prior to the permit expiration date.
Permit fee. A permit fee schedule may be established by the inspection agency and approved by the County Commissioners for the administration and management of the erosion and sediment control program. Capital improvement projects, refuse disposal areas, sanitary landfills and public works projects shall be exempt from the permit fee.
Permit suspension and revocation. The inspection agency may suspend or revoke any permits after providing written notification to the permittee based on any of the following reasons:
Any violation of the terms or conditions of the approved erosion and sediment control plan or permit.
Noncompliance with violation notices or stop-work orders issued.
Changes in site characteristics upon which plan approval issuance was based.
Any violation of this Subtitle or any rules and regulations adopted under it.
Permit conditions. In issuing a grading or building permit, the District may impose such conditions that may be deemed necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Subtitle or the preservation of the public health and safety.
When deemed necessary by the inspection agency, the developer shall furnish a surety or cash bond, irrevocable letter of credit or other means of security. The bond amount shall be equal to one hundred twenty-five percent of the cost of the installation, maintenance, and removal of the erosion and sediment controls shown on the approved plan. All bonds shall be in accordance with the provisions regarding bonding procedures found in § ZS 1-125 of the Zoning and Subdivision Control Article.
Inspection frequency and reports.
The permittee shall maintain a copy of the approved erosion and sediment control plan on the site.
Every active site having a designed erosion and sediment control plan should be inspected for compliance with the plan on the average of once every two weeks.
Inspectors shall prepare written reports after every inspection. The inspection report shall include the following:
The date and location of the site inspection.
Whether or not the approved plan has been properly implemented and maintained.
Any practice deficiencies or erosion and sediment control plan deficiencies.
If a violation exists, the type of enforcement action taken.
A description of any modifications to the plan, if applicable.
Right of entry. It shall be a condition of every permit that the inspection agency has the right to enter the property periodically to inspect for compliance with this Subtitle.
Complaints. The inspection agency shall receive complaints and initiate enforcement procedures when violations are confirmed. Any complaint received shall be acted upon routinely within three working days and the complainant shall be notified of any action or proposed action routinely within seven days of receipt of the complaint.
Notice. When the inspection agency or an inspector determines that a violation of the approved erosion and sediment control plan has occurred, the inspector shall notify the on-site personnel or the permittee, in writing, of the violation and describe the required corrective action and the time period in which to have the violation corrected.
Stop-work order for violation. If the violation persists after the date specified for corrective action in the notice of violation, the inspection agency shall stop work on the site. The inspection agency shall determine the extent to which work is stopped, which may include all work on the site except that work necessary to correct the violation.
Failure to correct. If reasonable efforts to correct the violation are not undertaken by the permittee, the inspection agency shall refer the violation for legal action.
Denial of permit. The inspection agency may deny the issuance of any permits to an applicant when it determines that the applicant is not in compliance with the provisions of the permit or approved erosion and sediment control plan.
Enforcement. Any step in the enforcement process may be taken at any time, depending upon the severity of the violation, including the issuance of a corrective order, issuance of a stop-work order, the extent of which is determined by the inspection agency, the issuance of fines as allowed, or referral for legal action.
Stop-work order for no permit. If a person is working without a permit, the inspection agency shall stop work on the site except activity necessary to provide erosion and sediment control.
If any portion, section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this Subtitle is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed a separate, distinct and independent provision and such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portion of this Subtitle, it being the intent of the County Commissioners of Worcester County, Maryland, that this Subtitle shall stand, notwithstanding the invalidity of any portion, section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase hereof.
Violations. Any person who violates any provision of this Subtitle is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction in a court of competent jurisdiction, is subject to a fine not exceeding $10,000.00 or imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both for each violation, with costs imposed in the discretion of the court. Each day upon which the violation occurs constitutes a separate violation.
Civil infractions. In addition, as an alternative remedy, violations of the provisions of this Subtitle or failure to comply with any of its requirements may, in minor cases as determined by the inspection agency, constitute a civil infraction and shall be subject to a fine of not more than $2,500.00.
Injunctions. Any agency whose approval is required under this Subtitle or any interested person may seek an injunction against any person who violates or threatens to violate any provision of this Subtitle.
Liability to the County. In addition to any other sanction under this Subtitle, a person who fails to install or to maintain erosion and sediment controls in accordance with an approved plan shall be liable to the County Commissioners of Worcester County, Maryland, or the state in a civil action, for damages in an amount equal to double the cost of installing or maintaining the controls.
Recovered damages. Any governing authority that recovers damages in accordance with this Subtitle shall deposit them in a special fund, to be used solely for the following: