Georgia Erosion & Sedimentation Act Update

Edited by Steve Hudson | September 28, 2010

As part of House Bill 285, new education and training certification E & TC requirements were included in the 2003 amendments to the Georgia Erosion & Sedimentation Act. These new requirements state that "After December 31, 2006, all persons involved in land development design review, permitting, construction, monitoring or inspection or any land disturbing activity shall meet the education and training certification requirements, dependent on their level of involvement with the process, as developed by the commission in consultation with the division and the Stakeholder Advisory Board created pursuant to Code section 12-7-20."

The "all persons involved" phrase encompasses a substantial number of people taking one or more of the E&TC courses. Members of the Stakeholder Advisory Board met with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) and Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission (GSWCC) and agreed that while engaging in land disturbing activities at least one person from each work crew/company/entity involved with land disturbing activities on a project or site must have completed the E&TC requirement and be certified through the GSWCC.

EPD recommends, but does not require, that at least two people from each work crew/company/entity working at a project or site have completed the E&TC requirement. In the event that an E&TC individual is out, then another E&TC individual is available on-site to ensure that erosion and sedimentation control issues are under control, regardless of what situation arises. If an E&TC individual leaves the site and was the only individual on-site that is certified with that work crew/company/entity, then all land disturbing activity undertaken by that work crew/company/entity should stop until the certified individual returns.

The following is a list of positions/occupations likely to need the required E&TC. The list is grouped into three categories and is not a complete listing of all job titles. There may be other titles not included that could benefit from attendance at E&TC courses. Consider your specific job responsibilities, and if they include involvement with land disturbing activities, then your attendance at one or more of these E&TC courses is necessary unless somebody else with your work crew/company/entity has already satisfied this requirement for every project or site.

Fundamentals Course (Level IA):

  • Primary/Secondary/Tertiary Permittees (depending on level of involvement)
  • Best management practice installation personnel
  • Builders
  • Contractors
  • Developers
  • Grading contractors & grading, earthmoving equipment operators
  • Irrigation system personnel (residence, commercial and industrial sites)
  • Landscape personnel
  • NPDES monitoring and sampling consultants
  • Site superintendents
  • Utility contractors
  • Wastewater contractors installing on-site systems (includes septic tank excavation and drain fields)
  • Well drillers (includes directional boring equipment operators)
  • Plumbers and electricians (will require certification if conducting a land disturbing activity within a permitted project site)
  • Others involved in land disturbing activities

Advanced Fundamentals Course (Level IB):

  • Primary/Secondary/Tertiary Permittees (depending on level of involvement)
  • Regulatory enforcement inspectors (city and county staff)
  • Non-regulatory personnel inspec tors contracted for regulatory work (such as an environmental consul tant to a city or county government)

Introduction to Design Course (Level II):

  • Primary/Secondary/Tertiary Pemittees (depending on level of involvement)
  • Design professionals
  • Plan reviewers (includes Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission and Natural Resources Conservation Service staff)

The "dependent on their level of involvement with the process" phrase is not applicable to: (a) minor land disturbing activities, since these activities are exempt under the Act as specified in Section 12-7-17(3); and (b) sites under one acre of land disturbance and the land disturbance is more than 200 feet from State Waters, as specified in Section 12-7-17(8). Therefore, a work crew/company/entity involved in (a) or (b), does not need to have the education and training certification required by the Act. However, if the site is part of a larger "common development," then the E&TC requirements will apply for an individual or entity at a site with less than one acre of land disturbance. Note that the determination of whether an activity is a minor land disturbance is made by the local issuing authority, or by EPD in areas where there is no local issuing authority.

In summary, it is important to consider "what are my job responsibilities," and if those responsibilities include involvement with land disturbing activities. If so, then, your attendance at one or more of these E&TC courses may be necessary.

Georgia's E&TC program does not recognize reciprocity with any other state erosion and sedimentation education certification.

The Education and Training Certification Program is administered and implemented by the E&SC Education and Certification Program of the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission, telephone (706) 542-1840. For additional information, visit and click on Education/Certification.