Rules working, official says

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Columbia County officials say they've got a handle on last year's erosion problems.

"It's improved considerably," said Richard Harmon, the county's Building and Commercial Services director.

Mr. Harmon's department oversees the residential side of development when it comes to soil erosion enforcement. The county's Engineering Department handles commercial inspections.

A year ago, Mr. Harmon said, soil runoff violations at neighborhood construction sites were more severe. Now, however, new rules are in place and appear to be working. Builders were required to obtain a Georgia Soil and Water Conservation certification by January.

Construction site violations had been a concern with some commissioners, and at one point Mr. Harmon's office was required to report to board members a list of those found not in compliance.

Mr. Harmon said that should a violation be discovered, a warning or even a stop work notice could be issued, adding that silt fence violations are among the most typical offenses.

A silt fence, typically constructed of fabric with a wire backing and held in place by metal posts, prevents large amounts of soil from flowing off a cleared site and downstream during rainfall. A downed silt fence would be a violation.

So far this year, Jimmy Vowell, a county erosion and sediment inspector, said there have been fewer violations at sites. Lately, he said, key areas of interest for inspections have included Mullikin Road, Chamblin Road and the developments of River Island and Ivy Falls as there's a greater concern for state waterways there.

The county has two inspectors for residential developments, and a third is expected soon.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com.

GOT A REQUEST?

Concerns about development sites and possible runoff issues or soil erosion violations can be called in to the county's nonemergent 311 phone line. Concerns are forwarded to the county's inspectors.

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Reality
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Reality 09/26/07 - 04:06 am
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Are there fewer problems

Are there fewer problems because this was a very dry summer? Not as much rain means fewer erosion problems...

me1
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me1 09/26/07 - 04:15 am
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Dry weather always makes

Dry weather always makes things look better. Get a rainy season and they wil be back to square one again.

Little Whitey
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Little Whitey 09/26/07 - 07:43 am
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Yes I agree that less

Yes I agree that less frequent rain events will mean fewer erosion problems. However, the problem that is rarely seen by the neighboring homeowners is the lack of respect for the actual builder by that builder's sub-contractor(s). The sub contractors have no actual stake in the maintaining of the silt fence that the builder has had to install to maintain compliance. The sub contractor instead of utilizing the construction outlet as it was designed, will pull their respective vehicle all the way to the house under construction which most times is muddy. Then drive out of the job site transferring that mud to the street. The sub contractor will then walk over the silt fence (not repairing it) which also will cause an erosion issue. I have seen lumber trucks, sheet rock, and dump trucks deliveries back, or run over the silt fence never to get out and replace it to its original state.
So there are more variables than just a non-rain event that causes erosion problems in Col. Co.

me1
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me1 09/27/07 - 04:09 am
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I totally agree RP. The

I totally agree RP. The builders have the same problem the county faces which is telling them to correct ti over and over again. Utility companies are just as guilty of this as any one else. They also dont compact their ditches back and all that dirt washing away will actually create sink holes behind the curb.

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