Soil Erosion Control Program Seeks to Have Probation Lifted
The Grand Traverse County, Michigan, soil erosion control program was placed on probation by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in July 2015 for being understaffed and underfunded and for accepting incomplete permits. Negotiations are underway to fix these problems and take the program off probation.
Two soil erosion inspectors have been bumped up to full-time employees, while the department’s clerk was cut back to part-time. The inspectors now visit every active construction site, instead of visiting most sites before, not during, construction.
One of the lingering questions is who will manage soil erosion control. Currently, all development-related departments—including soil erosion, environmental health and construction codes—are working together. But prior to 2012, oversight for soil erosion control fell to the county’s drain commissioner. Who will ultimately have oversight is unclear. According to Jean Derenzy, deputy director of the county’s planning and development department, “Everything’s on the table.”