New measures provide faster inspections to address erosion and sediment issues on construction sites

News Article
This photo illustrates measures taken to control erosion on a development site, notably the presence of hay and plastic sheeting to prevent the loss of dirt and sediment at a site.
Changes are coming to reduce erosion control inspection wait times, and deliver timely enforcement, to ensure soils and sediment remain on-site.

The Bureau of Development Services is making it easier to schedule and receive necessary erosion control inspections before and during construction activity.

Construction projects that involve ground disturbing activity must obtain a pre-construction erosion control inspection. Customers must call the City’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) line, at 503-823-7000, to schedule a pre-construction erosion control inspection, or what is commonly referred to as a “#200 inspection.” This inspection is required to review and approve the installation of erosion and sediment controls before any ground-disturbing activity begins.

Starting Monday, Oct. 2, the IVR system will not allow a customer to schedule subsequent inspections until after the pre-construction erosion control inspection is approved. This is an important new development in the scheduling of inspections and ensures that all necessary erosion and sediment controls are in place and approved before ground-disturbing construction activity begins.

Development Services is accelerating the scheduling of erosion control inspections. These inspections will be handled separately from the limited numbers of other residential and commercial inspections allowed each day to facilitate faster erosion control inspections and help get construction started more quickly.

Failure to pass a pre-construction erosion control inspection before starting ground-disturbing activity will result in fines assessed by the Bureau of Development Services. Those fines currently start at $210 ($105 if the #200 inspection is approved after ground-disturbing activity begins) and can increase if corrections are not made within prescribed timelines.

Erosion control inspections are only required for construction projects that involve ground-disturbing activities. Projects such as kitchen or bathroom remodels and interior improvements to commercial buildings are some of the types of projects that do not usually require erosion control inspections. If your permit requires a #200 inspection for work that does not involve ground-disturbing activity, please call 503-823-7300 for assistance.

Why erosion control is important

Erosion control is important for maintaining water quality and nutrients in soil. It is also important for protecting nearby streams and the fish and wildlife that inhabit them.

Sediments from disturbed soils can move onto neighboring properties and streets and into sewer systems and other bodies of water. Excessive sediment is a pollutant and damages the functions of both sewer systems and natural watersheds.

The Federal Clean Water Act requires state and local governments to minimize the potential for soil discharges and runoff to pollute nearby waters. Oregon law prohibits the discharge or placement of wastes into waters of the state and the discharge of waste that causes violations of water quality standards.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality grants the City of Portland a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit. The City must comply with all conditions of this permit and take measures to reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff from construction activity.

For questions about erosion control requirements, please visit this web page or call the Erosion Control Hotline at 503-823-0900.


Erosion Control Hotline

Development Services
phone number503-823-0900Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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