Land Disturbance


“Land Disturbance” by definition, means any activity that changes the physical conditions of land form, vegetation and hydrology, creates bare soil, or otherwise may cause erosion or sedimentation. Such activities include, but are not limited to clearing, removal of vegetation, stripping, grading, grubbing, excavating, filling, logging and storing of materials.

The Town of Bluffton’s Stormwater Management Division is responsible for construction site inspections on approved land disturbance activities and enforcement of the Town’s stormwater ordinance.

Sediment and Erosion Control

Development and redevelopment converts former pervious surface soils to non-pervious man-made surfaces, which then produces increased runoff volumes and flows. The physical problems resulting from this increased runoff includes, but is not limited to: flooding, soil erosion, sedimentation, and the pollution of lands and surrounding water bodies.

Horizontal, vertical, and post-construction inspections for sediment, erosion, and Stormwater runoff controls are conducted by an inspector, bearing proper credentials and identification, to ensure that the construction adheres to the approved plans to curb and/or remediate the physical effects of land disturbance.

Enforcement

  • Sites may require daily housekeeping by contractors and sub-contractors to maintain compliance.
  • Any deficiencies or non-compliance issues identified during a Town inspection will be reported to the project contractor, on-site supervisor, and/or engineer for addressing. Some corrective measures may require immediate, 48-hr, 78-hr, or 7+ days’ time frame depending on the nature of the violation.*
  • Measures that have frequent failures can be required to be replaced with alternative control methods. All changes should be communicated with the Stormwater Management Division and documentation in the OS-SWPPP.
  • Failure to address concerns or implement and corrective measures may result in warnings, stop-work orders, or fines. To find out more information about the enforcement of the sediment and erosion control program, see UDO Article 5.10
    ➢ *Sites with repeat violations may be subject to additional compliance actions, special schedules, inspections, or programs as determined and communicated by the Stormwater Management Division.

Stormwater Permit

The Town of Bluffton is dedicated to improving our Stormwater services and preserving the health of our surrounding waters. Through the NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) program, the Town will engage in a variety of activities to identify, detect, and eliminate potential sources of Stormwater pollution in our community.

  • Ordinances and Guidelines
    ➢ Unified Development Ordinance (UDO):
    Article 5.10 provides information regarding the Stormwater design requirements for development, operation and maintenance of best management practices (BMPs), illicit discharges and connections, and the right to inspect any and all Stormwater Systems within the jurisdiction of the Town.

    ➢ Stormwater Design Manual:
    The Town’s Stormwater Design Manual is a comprehensive tool for the application of Stormwater management controls and Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) aimed at improving the water quality of stormwater. It contains rules and minimum requirements for the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of all drainage facilities within the Town and all areas subject to its jurisdiction. Definitions, formulas, criteria, procedures, and data presented within the Stormwater Design Manual have been developed to support the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Article 5.

SC DHEC / EPA / Town Information & Publications

  1. For Stormwater Policy and Permit Requirements, please see Chapter 1 of the Town of Bluffton Stormwater Design Manual.

  2. For a list of the approved South Carolina DHEC BMPs, please see the SCDHEC Stormwater Management BMP Handbook.

  3. For information regarding the EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and South Carolina’s state program information, please visit here and here.

  4. For access to Stormwater Permit Design Aids and Technical Documents that may be helpful with applying for coverage under one of SC’s NPDES Stormwater Permit Programs, please click here.

  5. SCDHEC has announced the issuance of the new Construction General Permit (CGP) for small and large construction activities. The link to the new permit, as well as included rationale and fact sheets, can be found here.

  6. For questions about the new CGP, please contact SCDHEC. The Town of Bluffton’s Stormwater program requires that all projects meet applicable and current federal, state, and local requirements.

  7. For access to the Stormwater Application and Forms that are required to be submitted when applying for coverage under one of SC’s NPDES Stormwater Permit Programs, please click here or contact Jill Stewart at (803) 898-0439 for more information.
    ➢ Here you will also find the necessary documentation for obtaining Notice of Intents (NOI), Notice of Terminations (NOT) and downloadable NPDES Stormwater Construction Compliance Inspection Reports.

  8. For information on the Certified Erosion and Sediment Control Inspector (CEPSCI) Certifications please check the CEPSCI Website for updates and information on course registration.

Post BMP Maintenance

Stormwater features, such as lagoons, in your community are engineered devices, intended to moderate flood surges and reduce stormwater pollution. As with other engineered devices, these features require maintenance to prevent them from falling into disrepair. Developing and implementing a Best Management Practice (BMP) maintenance schedule will increase the long-term operation of your stormwater feature, will reduce pollutants to receiving waterbodies like the May River, and potentially save your community money on large repairs associated with failing systems.

If Stormwater infrastructure or a Stormwater BMP was installed on a project, the project owner is required by the Town to have annual inspections of these systems completed in order to maintain performance and function.


Land Disturbance FAQs

The Town’s Stormwater Ordinance can be found at the following link.

Article 5.10 provides information regarding the Stormwater design requirements for development, operation and maintenance of best management practices (BMPs), illicit discharges and connections, and the right to inspect any and all Stormwater Systems within the jurisdiction of the Town.

To learn more about what an NPDES Permit is please visit here.

Please report any flooding or drainage concerns to the Town of Bluffton at 843 706-4500 or email us at growthmanagementcs[at]townofbluffton.com.

To learn more about the State’s Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan please visit here.

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