Construction Sites

Soil Erosion

By volume, sediment is currently the greatest pollutant of Virginia's river and streams. A primary cause of sediment pollution is activity from constructions sites. Erosion on most construction sites is 500 times greater than what would naturally occur on an undisturbed, vegetated site; confirming that construction activity worsens erosion. During land disturbing activity, land is stripped of vegetation that once protected soil from natural elements such as rain, wind and snow. This newly exposed soil is transported, via stormwater, to a nearby waterway where it pollutes by clouding waters, obstructing waterways, clogging storm pipes, damaging adjacent properties and interfering with navigation. Successful mitigation of these impacts can be achieved by implementing erosion and sediment control (E&SC) measures at the initial construction phase, and maintaining these controls throughout the duration of a project. Visit the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for more information.


E&SC Program

Virginia was one of the first states to specifically address E&SC from construction sites by establishing a mandatory E&SC program nearly 30 years ago. The Commonwealth of Virginia administers the state E&SC Program according to the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Law and Regulations (VESCL&R) and Certification Regulations. The E&SC Program's goal is to control soil erosion, sedimentation and nonagricultural runoff from regulated "land-disturbing activities" to prevent degradation of downstream properties and waterways. Please refer to DEQ's website for more information on the E&SC program.


Land Disturbance Permit

Any land disturbance of 2500 square feet or more requires a Land Disturbance Permit from the City's Engineering Department. To receive the permit, an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan that meets the City's and DEQ's requirements must be submitted and approved by the Engineering Department. Erosion and sediment controls must be properly installed prior to commencing any upslope land disturbance and maintained throughout the project. To find out more about the land disturbance permit fees and plan requirements, please call the City's Engineering Department at 757-393-8592 or review the City's Erosion and Sediment Control ordinance


Agreement in-lieu-of an E&SC Plan for a Single Family Residence

This is a contract between the VESCP authority and the property owner that specifies conservation measures that must be implemented in the construction of a single-family residence; this contract may be executed by the VESCP authority in lieu of an erosion and sediment control plan.


Agreement in-lieu-of a Stormwater Management Plan

Much like the Agreement in-lieu-of an Erosion & Sediment Control (E&SC) plan for a Single Family  Residence, this is a contract between the VSMP authority and the property owner or permittee that specifies methods that shall be implemented to comply with the requirements of a VSMP for the construction of a single-family residence within a subdivision or within the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area (CBPA); such contract may be executed by the VSMP authority in lieu of a stormwater management plan.


VSMP CGP Coverage

Any land disturbance of 1 acre or greater requires coverage under the Virginia Stormwater Management Program Construction General Permit in addition to the Land Disturbance Permit. This includes construction activities resulting in land disturbance of less than one acre that are part of a larger common plan of development or sale that ultimately disturbs one or more acres such as those activities typically found in subdivisions. The City’s Stormwater Compliance Division (757-393-8592) can provide additional information relative to this permit. 


Stop Work Orders (SWOs)

Upon failure to comply with the Erosion & Sediment Control Law and Regulations, an approved plan or an Agreement in-lieu-of a Plan, the City’s Stormwater Compliance Manager will issue a Notice to Comply.  Failure to comply with this document within a given time frame—typically 7 days—will result in a Stop Work Order (SWO), disallowing further land disturbing activities until compliance is achieved.  A subsequent SWO will result in the stoppage of all construction activities.  Upon the issuance of a third SWO, the Land Disturbance Permit may be revoked, invalidating other permits (including the Building Permit).  In this case, one must achieve compliance on his/her site, re-apply for permits deemed invalid and pay the associated fees.