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Erosion Control

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ec collage featherThe Erosion Control Division enforces the Erosion Control and Stormwater portions of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO); administers the Neuse Buffer Rules; reviews erosion control plans; issues plan approvals and permits; inspects permitted sites; and investigates complaints and unauthorized land disturbances.

Erosion Control Permits and Information:
Erosion Control Resources: Stormwater Management:**NEW DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS BEGINNING JUNE 1, 2012 erosion Weslie pix dscn rev webStreams Buffers: Surface Water (Stream) Identification: Water Quality Resources: Open Burning Regulations: When a permit is required:
(The linked files in the following paragraph are large. Please be patient while the map downloads.)
Orange County Watershed-Erosion Control-Stormwater-Nutrient Matrix and Map
In general, whenever clearing and grading will exceed 20,000 square feet (roughly 1/2 acre) an Erosion Control Plan must be submitted for approval; and a land disturbance permit must be obtained before any land disturbing activity begins (including timbering, demolition, clearing, or grading, etc.). However, if the site is within either the University Lake, Cane Creek, or Upper Eno watersheds (Erosion Control & Stormwater Requirements For Land Disturbance Activities FAQs), a permit is required for any grading exceeding 10,000 square feet (approximately 1/4 acre) and may be required for any disturbance depending on site specific factors. A waiver may be issued by the Erosion Control Division for land disturbances of less than 10,000 square feet.

The Erosion Control Permit application form must be included with the plan submittal. The application form consists of two parts:
1. Applications for Erosion Control Plan Approval and Land Disturbance Permit 
2. Statement of Ownership and Financial Responsibility

NOTE: Bonafide agricultural, forestry, and mining are exempt activities (see Section 6.15 of the Orange County Unified Development Ordinance). These activities are regulated under state and federal authority. Forestry, Bona Fide Farm, and Development Clearing Information 

Stormwater Management Plan:
Section 6.14: Stormwater Management of the Orange County Unified Development Ordinance states that a Stormwater Management Plan must also be submitted for any new development or land-disturbing activity exceeding the thresholds noted in the Watershed Matrix Table.  The requirements apply to all new development within the Orange County planning jurisdiction, including private, public, state, and federal development not covered by a separate NPDES permit. Stormwater Management Plans must address the following:
  • Protection of riparian areas
  • Nitrogen and phosphorus load contributions
  • Peak flow attenuation for the 1-year, 24-hour storm
  • Control and treatment of runoff generated by one inch of rainfall from all project area surfaces
  • Engineered stormwater controls with a minimum 85% removal of Total Suspended Solids (TSS) for projects that exceed nutrient export thresholds
Stormwater Management Plans are to be submitted to the Erosion Control / Stormwater Division for review and approval.  The current Stormwater Management Plan Review Fee is $500.00 per project.  Once approved, a Stormwater Management Permit will be issued at no charge.

Neuse Buffer Rules:
The State of North Carolina has designated Orange County as the delegated authority to administer the Neuse Buffer Rules within Orange County’s Neuse River Basin, outside the Town of Hillsborough and it surrounding Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). Located in the northeast portion of the county, the Neuse River Basin is comprised of the Upper Eno, Lower Eno unprotected, Lower Eno protected, Little River and Flat River sub-basins. Neuse buffered streams have a 50’ riparian buffer, however under the Orange County Unified Development Ordinance, these watersheds have a stream buffer overlay with a minimum 65' buffer requirement. Orange County reviews all proposed Neuse Buffer impacts in accordance with the Neuse Buffer Rules. Buffer impacts are categorized as exempt, allowable, allowable with mitigation, or prohibited. See the Orange County Unified Development Ordinance for the complete table of uses and other Neuse Buffer related issues.

Non-Neuse Buffers:
The non-Neuse River Basins include the Roanoke Basin in the extreme northwest portion of the county (approximately 10 square miles comprised of the Hyco Creek and South Hyco Creek sub-basins) and the Cape Fear Basin in the western and southern portions of the county (comprised of the Back Creek, Haw Creek, Cane Creek, Haw River unprotected, Haw River protected, University Lake, Jordan Lake unprotected and Jordan Lake protected sub-basins). All non-Neuse buffers are a minimum of 65' wide (130' total width). See the Orange County Unified Development Ordinance for additional information.

Surface Water (Stream) Identification:
The presence of a stream buffer can affect proposed land use such as driveways and building locations. The county has, in the Planning Department, a base map of all known streams. Anyone who wishes to dispute the map may request staff to "field" or "ground" truth the stream. Staff will use methodologies and criteria developed by the North Carolina Division of Water Quality to determine if the stream feature shown on the map is indeed subject to buffer requirements.

Stormwater Pollution:
So why do we care about stormwater? Quite simply...North Carolina's number one water quality problem is stormwater runoff pollution.  As stormwater flows across impervious (i.e. paved) surfaces or exposed soil, it picks up various pollutants, such as oil & grease, excess nutrients, bacteria and sediment.  Polluted stormwater flows down our storm drains and ditches where it is discharged, untreated, into our streams, rivers, and lakes.  Stormwater runoff pollution causes adverse impacts to aquatic ecosystems, poses human health risks, and can greatly increase the cost of treating our drinking water. For more information about stormwater pollution and stormwater resources contact by phone at (919) 245-2587 or email.

Development Related Burning Information:
OPEN BURNING PROHIBITED - Effective SEPTEMBER 16, 2003 Per Orange County Unified Development Ordinance. Open burning of trees, limbs, stumps, and construction debris is PROHIBITED in Orange County for all activities associated with the development of a subdivision and/or any other permitted land-disturbing activities. This does not include activities involving the production and management of agricultural or forestry products.
News & Updates:

Concerned about turbidity or erosion & sedimentation control in your neighborhood?
Click here for more information

NCDEQ Issues Designer Clarification

Click here for more information

Orange County Becomes a Partner of the CWEP
Clean Water Education Partnership launches video to show how to keep out waterways clean with proper lawn care with help from The Sodfather.
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Erosion Control/Stormwater Division Internal Review Procedure and Remedy for Disagreement (S.L. 2014-120 Senate Bill 734)