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Chatham County’s Erosion Control Program Receives Top State Award for 2019

Post Date:05/08/2019 1:45 PM
On April 24, 2019, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced that Chatham County’s Erosion Control Program earned the 2019 Outstanding Small Local Program Award. The annual award recognizes one large and one small local government most effectively ensuring compliance with the state’s Sedimentation Pollution Control Act (SPCA).

Chatham County Manager Dan LaMontagne said, “This is the third time that Chatham County has won this award since 2008, an amazing accomplishment. With just four employees involved, they manage to consistently excel at their work. I could not be prouder of this great team. Our Board of Commissioners also has made erosion control and protection of water resources a top priority.”

Chatham’s Watershed Protection Department, led by Rachael Thorn, oversees the enforcement of erosion control for both the county and the Town of Pittsboro through an inter-local agreement. “This is particularly important in the coming years, because the entire Chatham Park development is within the planning area of the Town of Pittsboro,” LaMontagne said.

Besides department director Thorn, the department includes three watershed specialists: Morgan DeWit, Sr., Drew Blake, and Justin Hasenfus.

The DEQ award presentation cited the Chatham County’s unique challenges in dealing with difficult soil types and topography. They lauded staff’s ability to adapt to the increased volume of required inspections, effective enforcement initiatives, and webpages that are easy-to-navigate, understandable, and thorough.

The presenter of the award noted that Chatham’s erosion control staff manage to respond to every complaint within 24-48 hours to instill public confidence that construction impacts are investigated.

Chatham County continues to be the eighth fastest growing county in the state and sometimes is in the top five. The county requires erosion and sedimentation control plans when land disturbances reach 25,000 square feet or more for residential construction and 20,000 square feet for commercial construction.

All erosion control projects typically must be inspected every 14 days. The plan checklist includes requirements for NC Department of Transportation permits and NC general construction site permits (G01 permit).