ocean and beach

What Erosion Control Fee?

ocean and beach
Image by Allen Lai on Flickr.

You may have noticed a $250 erosion control fee added to the cost of obtaining a building permit from the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting.

What is erosion control and why is there a fee?

Erosion control is a state effort to protect Hawaii’s water quality by limiting the amount of construction site refuse (dirt, rocks, waste, and other debris) entering the ocean ecosystem through run-off and storm drains.

The fee covers the Erosion and Sediment Control Plan (ESCP) and site diagram that must be submitted with the building permit application. Best Management Practices (BMP) listed on the ESCP are specific measures the homeowner and builder will take to keep dirt, oil, and debris from leeching into the ground or leaving the property.

silt fence
A silt fence keeps soil from leaking out of construction areas. Image by ArmchairBuilder.com on Flickr.
tarp covering a large ground drain
Tarp covering drainage area prevents soil from entering waterways. Image by ArmchairBuilder.com on Flickr.

BMPs can include:

  • Covering a pile of dirt with a secured tarp
  • Securing a port-a-potty to the ground
  • Putting a biosock (looks like a giant, black noodle) in front of a gutter to strain out lose dirt
  • Laying down 8”-12” of gravel in the driveway to prevent vehicles tracking dirt into the street.
  • Putting a tarp underneath heavy equipment to catch oil spills
  • Sweeping up dirt on the street
Sediment run-off can suffocate local coral and block needed sunlight. Image of Upsilon Andromedae by Hawaii Coral on Flickr.

Who makes sure the BMPs are being carried out?

An ESCP Coordinator must check on the project once a month or halfway through a short project, and at the beginning and end of the project to ensure appropriate BMPs are still in place and working.

The project’s size and slope determine the type and category of required BMP measures.

The next time you see sandbags, silt fences, and biosocks surrounding construction areas, you will know their purpose.

For more information on Hawaii Erosion and Sediment control or to become an ESCP Coordinator, visit here.

Streams and oceans are healthier and cleaner for sea creatures and coral when land debris stays out. During heavy rains and irresponsible construction, run-off flows to the ocean and chokes and kills coral, an important part of the ocean ecosystem.

If an ESCP must be resubmitted because changes occurred, it will cost an additional $25 $100.

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