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Skip Navigation LinksNorthampton County Website COUNTY ADMINISTRATION CONSERVATION DISTRICT Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control & NPDES Permit Program

Skip Navigation LinksEandS and NPDES Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control & NPDES Permit Program

The Northampton County Conservation District (NCCD), under delegation of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, administers the Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control Program. The Conservation District performs technical plan reviews of Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control (ESPC) plans, conducts earth disturbance inspections and provides education on soil and water conservation practices for construction and agricultural activities as well as local educators.

Click Forms, Applications and Downloads page for answers to many questions you may have about the program. The page contains many documents that provide instructions, Frequently Asked Questions and guidance regarding the program. It is kept up to date.

 What is an ESPC Plan?

The ESPC Plan must show how land and water resources are to be protected against accelerated erosion through the use of Best Management Practices (BMPs). BMPs are activities or structures that effectively control stormwater during construction to prevent and minimize soil loss and surface water pollution. Examples of BMPs include: minimizing earth disturbance, silt fence, mulch, diversion ditches, sediment traps, sediment basins, and the establishment of grasses or other BMPs for permanent stabilization. The E&S Plan must show the site, location of BMPs, and the timing and sequence of their installation for maximum effectiveness.

 Do I Need an E&S Plan?

​Pennsylvania Code Title 25, 102.4 (state law) requires:
For earth disturbance activities, the following erosion and sediment control requirements apply:

  1. The implementation and maintenance of erosion and sediment control BMPs are required to minimize the potential for accelerated erosion and sedimentation, including for those activities which disturb less than 5,000 square feet (464.5 square meters).
  2. A person proposing earth disturbance activities shall develop a written Erosion and Sediment Control Plan under this chapter if one or more of the following criteria apply:
    • The earth disturbance activity will result in a total of 5,000 square feet (464.5 square meters) or more.
    • The person proposing the earth disturbance activities is required to develop an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan pursuant to this Chapter under Department regulations or other than those contained in this chapter.
    • The earth disturbance activity, because of its proximity to existing drainage features or patterns, has the potential to discharge to a water classified as a High Quality or Exceptional Value water pursuant to Chapter 93 (relating to water quality standards).
Plan Review fees may apply to ESPC plans submitted to NCCD requesting technical review or determination of plan adequacy.

 Do I Need a District E&S Plan Review?

​The District will review the plan when:

  1. The review and approval is required for a permit (e.g. NPDES permit, E&S permit, ESCGP permit, Chapter 105 Permit, Joint Permit, Small Projects Permit, etc.).
  2. The review and approval is required by a municipality or other governing body (e.g. Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, Municipal official/engineer/zoning officer request, MOU, etc.).

 Who do I contact?

The Chapter 102 District staff have been regionalized to better serve the community.  Please reference the below regionalization map and feel free to contact the corresponding Conservation Specialist with any questions concerning earth disturbance activities in the assigned municipalities. 

If you have a complaint please contact our Clerical Specialist at the number provided.



 Do I need Permits?

NPDES Permits

Earth disturbance activities (except agricultural tillage and timber harvests) that disturb 1.0 or more acres of ground over the entire life of the project, including individual lot development, require a NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) permit; part of the permitting process requires submission of an appropriate Erosion and sediment Pollution Control and Post-construction Stormwater Management (PCSM) Plans.
There are two types of NPDES permits:

  1. An Individual NPDES permit is required:
    1. in a special protection High Quality (HQ) or Exceptional Value (EV) watershed (including EV wetlands) according to 25 PA Code Chapter 93 (or statewide existing use classifications)
    2. the construction activities has the potential to discharge toxins
    3. the construction activities will violate water quality standards
    4. the construction activities are in areas inhabited by Federal or State Endangered Species
    5. if Control Guidance 1 cannot be met on a site within a non-special protection watershed classified as impaired (non-attaining designated or existing use)
  2. A General NPDES permit is required in all other cases where 1.0 acre or more is disturbed over the entire life of the project.

Both the E&S and PCSM plans require regular maintenance for the proper function of the BMPs; the required maintenance is covered on the approved plans. 

If you are unsure of the maintenance procedures required for a BMP the Conservation District may be able to provide you assistance. 
A quick guide to Homeowner's PCSM maintenance can also be found here

NPDES Permit Fees: Please see our link to Forms and Applications for all associated downloads for NPDES and District Reviews

E&S Permits

These permits are required for a person proposing a timber harvesting or road maintenance activity involving 25 acres (10 hectares) or more of earth disturbance over the life of the project shall obtain an E&S Permit prior to commencing.  NOTE: This permit not the same as an E&S plan review/approval as required by the municipality.  Please contact the District for a pre-application meeting if you feel you require this permit. 

ESCGP-3 Permits

These permits are required for earth disturbance associated with Oil & Gas exploration, production, processing or treatment operations or transmission facilities.  DEP interprets "project" to be substantially connected well sites, access roads, pipelines, other service lines, support facilities, and/or other oil and gas activities. Well pads, impoundments and pipelines etc. may be permitted separately but are considered together solely to determine whether the total project acreage limit of five acres or more (re: §102.5(c)) has been met and a permit is required.  Please contact the District for a pre-application meeting if you feel you require this permit, and check with DEP website for additional information DEP eLibrary (ESCGP-3).

Other Permits

The District does not administer the DEP Chapter 105 Permit Program. All inquiries regarding stream obstructions and encroachments should be forwarded to the PADEP Northeast Regional Office.
There may be other local, state, and federal permits associated with the project, you should check with the appropriate corresponding agencies.


You can visit DEP's website for more information concerning the MS4 permitting program.

The District does not administer the County MS4 Permit Program, however the District does provide assistance to the County when needed. All inquiries regarding MS4 should be forwarded to Northampton County Public Works.

 Products for sale

​The District can provide hard copies of the following documents for a nominal charge:

"Soil Survey of Northampton County, PA" - copy (1974) (Alternatively you can utilize the NRCS Web Soil Survey online for free)​$20.00​


Simply send a check or money order made payable to "NCCD" to:

Northampton County Conservation District
14 Gracedale Avenue
Greystone Building
Nazareth, PA 18064-9211

Contact NCCD for information on ordering publications. 610-829-6276

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