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Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Why is erosion and sediment control important? Sediment is the greatest pollutant by volume impacting our lakes, streams and wetlands.  Sediment is the product of uncontrolled erosion.  Everyone in Michigan is affected by erosion and off-site sedimentation.  Erosion and sedimentation result in: loss of fertile topsoil, filling of lakes and streams, increased flooding, damage to plant and animal life and structural damage to buildings and roads.  Construction is one of the major causes of erosion in Michigan.  Without proper planning and management, over 100 tons of sediment per acre per year can be generated on some construction sites.

  2. What local units of government does the Washtenaw County SESC Program have jurisdiction in? Augusta Township, City of Dexter, Lodi Township, Northfield Township, Salem Township, City of Saline, Saline Township, Scio Township, Superior Township, Webster Township, City of Ypsilanti and York Township.
  3. What activities require a permit or waiver? Earth changing activities that are of a certain size and within 500 feet of surface water, defined by the County's SESC Ordinance, may require a permit or waiver with our office.  All earth changes that will disturb one acre or more, regardless of the proximity to surface water require a permit with our office.  Click HERE for more information on permit requirements.
  4. What does the County's SESC Program consider surface water? As defined in the Washtenaw County SESC Ordinance, Surface water is any water including ponds (as defined) , lakes, streams, rivers, county drains (as defined) storm drains (as defined) and wetlands, which holds or conveys water continually or seasonally.
  5. Where do I apply for a permit and how long does the process take? Applicants can submit for a permit at Washtenaw County's Western Service Center, Office of the Water Resources Commissioner; located at 705 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor MI 48103.  The submittal should include a completed application, applicable fees, two sets of erosion control plans and a designated agent letter if required.
  6. How long is the permit valid for? Residential permits expire 18 months from the date of issuance and commercial permit expire 2 years from the date of issuance.  Extensions can be given if needed for a 6 month period.
  7. Can a soil erosion permit be transferred? Yes. If the landowner changes during the active soil erosion permit, the permit can be transferred to the new landowner.  Click HERE for additional information.
  8. Are there penalties associated with Part 91, Washtenaw County SESC Ordinance? Yes, there are several.  Violations are progressive and are issued according to the severity and the number of occurrences of violations on site.  They include, but are not limited to, cease and desist orders, stop work orders, site remediation and municipal civil infractions.
  9. Will I need a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality permit?  The MDEQ issues permits associated with regulated wetlands (Part 303) and inland lakes/stream (301).  It is up to the applicant to contact the MDEQ prior to earth change activity to see if a permit is needed through the State, if they have the above resources on their property.  Click HERE for additional information.
  10. Who do I contact for further information? If you have additional questions about the program, please contact the Office of the Water Resources Commissioner at 734-222-6860.
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