Originally created 09/25/98

County may alter rules on sediment



Columbia County is considering a series of changes to the erosion and sediment control codes to handle runoff from residential and subdivision construction sites.

For example, the county will require retention ponds for commercial developments larger than three acres and for residential developments larger than seven acres, said county engineer Jim Leiper.

Once the ponds are installed, the developer will have to make a series of cuts on the bottom of the pond to stop grass from growing in shallow areas.

"This will keep mosquitoes from being too much of a problem in and around residential areas," Mr. Leiper said.

Another recommendation would require construction companies to use hay bales to reinforce silt fences, which are designed to stop runoff from the sites.

And if the sediment barriers are not correctly installed, the county will refuse to inspect the site and charge $25 for a reinspection fee when the barriers are corrected.

The county also will hire a full-time code enforcement officer to ensure that the construction companies are following the codes.

Before any of the changes are implemented, the county will ask the Construction Advisory Board and the Metro Augusta Builders Association to review those changes.

"I think it would be both appropriate and fair to consider whatever recommendations they have," said County Commissioner Pete Brodie.

Mr. Leiper said the recommended changes came at the county commission's request.

"We are seeing an increasing number of lawsuits filed against the county on issues involving sediment in private lakes and ponds," Mr. Brodie said.