Wastewater, Earthmoving, Erosion Control

Functions

Earthmoving and Erosion Control

The Earthmoving & Erosion Control program is responsible for establishing certain minimum standards and requirements as determined by the Division necessary for controlling nonpoint source runoff from human related activities, such as land clearing.

Earthmoving activities, means any construction or other activity which disturbs or alters the surface of the land, a coral reef, the bottom of a lagoon, or ocean floor, including but not limited to excavations, dredging, embankments, land reclamation in a lagoon, land development, subdivision development, mineral extraction, ocean disposal and the moving, despositing or storing of soil, rock, coral, earth or sand mining.

The Northern Mariana Islands Administrative Code (NMIAC) Chapter 65-30, § 65-30-101; Permit Requirements, "No person shall commence or continue any earthmoving activity including grading, filling, or clearing of vegetation without a DEQ Earthmoving and Erosion Control Permit issued in accordance with the regulation".

Erosion Controls are methods or measures used to minimize erosion, runoff and sedimentation. Commonly used erosion controls are silt fences, earthberms and ponding basins. Soil erosion is an important social and economic problem and an essential factor in assessing ecosystem health and function. Estimates of erosion are essential to issues of land and water management, including sediment transport and storage in lowlands, reservoirs, and most especially our precious lagoon. The deposition of sediment into a waterway can significantly diminish the water quality and aquatic habitat. Sediment deposition in a waterway makes the water more turbid and does not allow as much light to penetrate the water. This causes problems for aquatic plants that need sunlight in order to perform photosynthesis.

Furthermore, suspended sediments in the water have the potential of clogging the gills of aquatic organisms and covering the stream bottom. Deposition of sediment on the stream bottom can lead to the suffocation of fish eggs and benthic macro invertebrates. which could cause the destruction of natural spawning substrate. Also, with an increased amount of particles in the water, dissolved oxygen levels are reduced because of higher water temperatures.

Stormwater Management

To improve upon current stormwater management practices, a Stormwater Management Report was developed, identifying a set of unified criteria to provide proposed standards to augment groundwater recharge to achieve water quality protection, prevent accelerated stream channels, prevent erosion, reduce flooding threats, and preserve sensitive habitats.

A manual was also developed. The manual is a compilation of hard-won knowledge and experience into a single comprehensive design handbook that is useful to engineers, plan reviewers and the regulated community. Most importantly, the Manual should provide a framework to ensure the effective implementation of stormwater management practices to protect the vital water resources of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Volume I of the Stormwater Management Manual provides designers a general overview on local stormwater issues, lists the stormwater performance standards for the islands, and describes how to size and design BMPs to comply with those standards.

Volume II of the Stormwater Management Manual contains more detailed information on how to select and locate BMPs at a development site, how to prepare effective landscaping plans for stormwater practices, BMP construction specifications, step-by step BMP design examples and other assorted design tools.

PERMITS AND REGULATIONS

This branch reviews and manages the Inter-Agency One-Start Earthmoving and Erosion Control Permit application for both Commercial and Non-Commercial, and Application to Receive / Haul Excavated Materials (Less than 45 cy).  Any land clearing activity requires this permit. By Law (2 CMC Div. 3 §3122 (f)(1)) the Earthmoving and Erosion Control permitting process must be completed within 21 calendar days.  The Earthmoving and Erosion Control Regulations CR Vol. 15, No. 10, October 15, 1993 (CNMI Environmental Protection Act, Public Law 3-23, 2 CMC §§ 3101 to 3134, and 1 CMC §§ 2601 to2605); NMIAC chapter 65-30 Earthmoving & Erosion control Regulations; are available at the end of this page. It can also be accessed in the Permits and Regulations section of this website.

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