Erosion and Sediment Control Enforcement
The overall goal of the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act (SPCA) and the NC Administrative Code (Code) Title 15 Chapter 4, is to prevent visible sedimentation into lakes, streams, natural watercourses, and onto adjoining properties. The SPCA outlines the regulatory requirements and gives authority to the Sedimentation Control Commission (SCC) and the Land Quality Section (LQS). The Code provides the administrative overview of how the SCC and LQS enforce the SPCA.
Inspections are conducted as routine actions after the submittal and approval of an Erosion and Sedimentation Control (E&SC) Plan, or after a complaint has been filed with LQS or a delegated Local Program. During the inspection, the inspector will document site conditions, compliance with the SPCA, any/all violations, specify any needed corrective actions and the deadline/s to complete them.
The inspection report is not an enforcement action. However, if the inspector notes problems on the site that are violations, then enforcement actions can be taken.
A notice of violation (NOV) is the initial formal notification of non-compliance. A NOV is based on the inspection report and lists the violations, the corrective actions needed, the deadline for completing them, and any penalties for initial and continuing violations. A continuing notice of violation may be issued if the required corrective actions haven’t been completed by the set deadline.
A civil penalty assessment (CPA) is an administrative fine levied against the financially responsible party and/or property owner for a violation of an environmental regulation. According to the SPCA, civil penalties assessed by the State or authorized delegated programs carry a maximum fine of $5,000 per day per violation for each day that the site is in violation.
The SPCA can also be enforced via administrative stop-work orders or injunctions issued by the courts.
Finally, criminal penalties for knowing or willful violations may be imposed to a maximum of 90 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.
If you have questions or concerns related to erosion and sediment control or off-site sedimentation from construction in NC, contact:
The appropriate Local Government Program,
The DEMLR staff at the appropriate Regional Office,
The E&SC Central Office Staff, or
The DEMLR toll-free hotline, 1-866-STOPMUD
You can also refer to our Erosion and Sediment FAQs page for answers to common questions.