Erosion FAQs Print

Erosion and Sediment Control Frequently Asked Questions

Q: “What is a regulated land-disturbing activity?”

A: Any use of the land by any person for residential, industrial, educational, institutional, or commercial development, and highway and road construction and maintenance that results in a change in the natural cover or topography and that may cause or contribute to sedimentation.

Q: “Isn’t farming exempt?”
A: True agricultural production and production facilities are exempt from the Ordinance. Refer to §154.05(B) for the complete dialogue.

Q: “When did this exemption begin?”
A: In 1973 the North Carolina legislature enacted the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act that applies statewide. Haywood County adopted its own Erosion Control Ordinance in 1988. It is based upon the state’s model ordinance and has requirements specific to Haywood County’s topography and natural resources.

Q: “What am I supposed to do?”
A: If you conduct a regulated land-disturbing activity, you are required to take all reasonable measures to prevent sediment damage to adjoining properties, lakes and natural watercourses. Contact the Haywood County Erosion Control Program for more specific details and instructions regarding your specific activity.

Q: “Why have I got to do all this stuff…just for a little mud?”

A: Society has deemed that water resources are worth protecting. Sediment is the largest pollutant by volume to our nation’s waterways. Sediment can fill up ponds…it can destroy aquatic habitats…fine particles of sediment can carry biological and chemical contaminants great distances…and sediment can be costly to treat with regards to public water sources. Also, public properties such as state roads must be protected from “mud slicks” because mud on the road can greatly reduce pavement friction…and that could lead to motor vehicle accidents. Also, private properties below land-disturbing activity must be protected from deposits of sediment. It is considered “damage” to someone’s property if you place sediment there…by any means.

Q: “If I disturb less than required for a permit, do I still have to do anything?”
A: Yes. You are still required to take all reasonable measures to protect all private property, all public property, and natural resources from sediment from your activity.

Q: “How long have I got to get grass growing…or put gravel down?”
A: You have 21 calendar days from the completion of any phase of grading to cover graded slopes and fills…either with a temporary or a permanent ground cover. That ground cover must be sufficient to restrain erosion. This rule applies on any size activity.

Q: “Can I go ahead and start work without plan approval or a permit as long as I stay under the permitting threshold?”
A: No. You are required to obtain a Land-Disturbing Permit before you begin the activity.

Q: “Can I at least begin cutting trees?”
A: That is considered a regulated land-disturbing activity and must be permitted prior to commencing work…unless it is a true forest practice. Then it is subject to conditions related in §154.05(B)(2) of the Ordinance.

Q: “What do you mean that’s trout water…a trout can’t live in that trickle?”

A: The issue is not whether trout can survive in the stream in question. The issue is whether the stream in question maintains its water quality adequate enough to feed the trout stream to which it is tributary.

Q: “What if I start work before I get a Land-Disturbing Permit?”
A: You will subject yourself to increased fees and possible civil and criminal penalties.

Q: “Does my permit ever expire?”
A: Yes. A Land-Disturbing Permit expires 18 months after issuance.

Q: “When I finish my project, do I need to do anything?”
A: Yes…you may call the Erosion Control Program for an inspection. At the end of construction…when the site has achieved final stabilization…a Certificate of Completion may be issued.

Q: “Doesn’t the county have a storm water ordinance?”
A: No.

Q: “I’m in the Town of Clyde. Can you inspect the neighbor’s bad work?”

A: By joint resolutions between the Town and County Boards (and with the endorsement of the N. C. Sediment Commission), our local program does have jurisdiction over matters of erosion and sediment control in the Towns of Clyde and Maggie Valley.  However, Waynesville and Canton are still under the jurisdiction of NCDENR, Land Quality Section.