New Homeowner's Guide to Soil Erosion Control
As the proud owner of a new home, establishing a lawn and landscaping are likely two of the many items on your growing "to do" list. If your yard does not have a lawn and landscaping, there may be some important items to keep in mind to prevent soil and debris from leaving your property. This will involve managing some activities on your site and making sure that all proper controls are in place.
You will need to take a look around your lot to see what kind of soil erosion controls are already in place or needed, determine current drainage patterns, and establish a timeline for putting in your lawn and landscaping.
Why is this important?
Soil erosion is a major contributor to pollution in our waterways. Uncontrolled runoff during weather events, i.e., wind and rain, can move the soil off-site and into our lakes and streams. The soil may move off-site through ditches, pipes or across the property and be deposited into a creek, stream, river or wetland.
Sediment can clog pipes and leave streets a muddy mess. It can destroy natural areas, wetlands, and creeks and harm the plants and creatures living there. Residual sediment can damage habitat for insects and fish.
The State of Michigan enacted legislation to address this problem (Public Act 91). The Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner's Office has the authority to enforce the Soil Erosion program for many Oakland County communities. The State of Michigan oversees all local programs and referrals, special concerns, and related pollution incidents.
Soil Erosion Permit
When construction of your home began, the builder was required to obtain a permit or a waiver from Oakland County to protect the environment from soil erosion.
As a new homeowner, you now have the responsibility until your lot has permanent vegetation and landscaping in place.
If your home had a permit as part of your property purchase, you should have received a permit transfer making it your responsibility to maintain the control measures and ensure they function properly, according to the plan your builder submitted for the permit. If your home had a waiver, you still must maintain or install controls to stop soil from eroding off your site.
For more information about soil erosion and your responsibility as a homeowner, please contact the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner's Office at 248-858-5389. Also visit their web site for detailed soil erosion information.