Water Resources Commissioner

Soil Erosion & Sedimentation Control

Ottawa County Soil Erosion & Sedimentation Control Ordinance

The Ottawa County Water Resources Commissioner's office is responsible for enforcement of the Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Act, Part 91 of P.A. 451, 1994 as amended. The office is also responsible for an Ordinance to establish rules and regulations to control soil erosion and sedimentation, to establish a system of permits for the regulation of earth changes, to establish the Ottawa County Water Resources Commissioner as the Officer responsible for implementation and enforcement, and to establish a system of fees, penalties, and civil infraction penalties for the violation of the Ordinance, all as authorized by the Part 91 Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994 as amended.

When is a permit needed?

A permit is needed for all earth changes within 500' of a lake, stream or drain or that disturb one or more acres of land, as required by Part 91 of P.A. 451, 1994 as amended.

A plan and permit fees must be included with the permit application when submitting.

What is soil erosion?

Soil erosion is the process by which the ground surface is worn away by the action of wind, water, gravity or a combination thereof.

What is sedimentation?

The action or process of depositing particles of waterborne or windborne soil. Sediment is one of the leading sources of non point source pollution in the waters of the state. Sediment can cover critical aquatic habitat for fish and insects. Sediment also has nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen attached to it, which in turn increase nutrient levels in the water. Increased sediment in watercourses can create raised water levels and block the flow of water through culverts creating flooding problems.

Why is it important?

Due to the rapid development in Ottawa County, it is important to protect the county's valuable water resources. By preventing erosion and sediment in run-off from construction sites, sedimentation of storm drains, wetlands and streams is controlled.

Economic Benefits of Compliance
  1. The potential for fines for noncompliance can be reduced or eliminated.
  2. Stabilized slopes require less repair and are safer for maintenance crews.
  3. Reducing short and long term erosion will result in less soil loss.
  4. Negative public opinion can be minimized.
  5. Liability exposure can be decreased.
Costs Resulting from Non Compliance
  1. Removal of sediment from storm drains, watercourses and wetlands.
  2. Increase in flooding hazards.
  3. Fines, stop work order or lawsuits.
Which are more effective - erosion or sediment controls?

Erosion controls are more effective than sediment controls and are preferred because they keep the soil in place and ensure the protection of the site. Whenever possible, the primary protection of a site should be erosion controls.

One of the most common causes of sedimentation is poor maintenance of erosion controls.

When developing a soil erosion control plan, the designer should answer the following questions:

  1. Where is erosion and sediment control needed?
  2. What kind of erosion and sediment control measures are appropriate?
  3. Should a large project be phased to minimize erosion?
  4. What type of maintenance will be necessary to ensure proper soil erosion and sedimentation control?

What can Ottawa County Residents do?

Pay close attention to work that is being performed at construction sites. If you observe sediment washing off a site into surface water or silt fence that is buried with sediment or soil being tracked out into roadways, contact the Soil Erosion Agency.