Do I need an E&S Plan?


Small Projects E&S Control Plan Template (PDF)


The E&S Plan does not always need to be reviewed by our office, however, it must be implemented and kept available on-site during all earth disturbance activities.


A written E&S pollution control plan is required for any one of the following conditions:

  1. The proposed earth disturbance activity will take place in an Exceptional Value (EV) or High Quality (HQ) Watershed or have the potential to discharge to these waters.
  2. The proposed earth disturbance activity will result in a total disturbance of 5,000 square feet or more over the life of the project*.
  3. An activity that requires a permit or authorization by the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) (i.e., NPDES, Chapter 105 Wetland and Waterway Obstruction or Encroachment, or Dam Safety Authorizations)
  4. If required by other Agencies, Municipal or County ordinances, permits, zoning, watershed plan, or similar requirements that specify a written plan.


*Earth disturbance of less than 5,000 square feet is still required to install, implement, and maintain best management practices (BMPs)

Type of earth disturbance

E&S controls required by Chapter 102

Any earth disturbance

Install and maintain E&S Best Management Practices (BMPs)

Over 5,000 sq ft of earth disturbance or any amount of earth disturbance with proximity and potential to discharge to special protection (High Quality or Exceptional Value) streams

Develop and implement a written E&S Plan and have a copy available on site. E&S plans are only required to be reviewed by the county conservation district when required by the municipality or other agency or upon receiving complaints and conducting site inspections.

Over 1 acre

(except timber harvest, agriculture, road maintenance, and oil and gas)

NPDES Permit (General or Individual Permits depending on scope of project and type of watershed)

Agriculture (plowing, tilling, animal heavy use areas)

Agriculture E&S Plan

Timber Harvest and Road Maintenance 25 acres or more

E&S Control Permit

Oil and Gas activities 5 acres or more

E&S Control Permit


What is an “earth disturbance activity”?

An earth disturbance activity is construction or other human activity which disturbs the surface of the land, including clearing and grubbing, grading, excavations, embankments, land development, agricultural plowing and tilling, operation of animal heavy use areas, timber harvesting activities, road maintenance activities, oil and gas activities, well drilling, mineral extraction, and the moving, depositing, stockpiling, or storing of soil, rock, or earth materials.

So, what exactly are best management practices (BMPs)?

BMPs are any activities, facilities, measures, planning, or procedures used to minimize accelerated erosion and sedimentation and manage stormwater to protect, maintain, and restore the water quality of our streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands during and following earth disturbance activities.


Take a look below to see some examples of erosion and sedimentation pollution control BMPs.


Perimeter BMP

A Compost Filter Sock is a  Perimeter BMP that is placed prior to any earth disturbance activity to collect sediment runoff before it reaches a waterway. Other perimeter BMPs may include silt fence, strawbales, or mulch berms.







Riparian Forest Buffer

A newly planted  Riparian Forest Buffer BMP will enhance and protect the water quality of Shavers Creek. Covering of bare soil by seeding & mulching or installing erosion control blanketing are examples of Stabilization BMPs, these are useful on both small- and large-scale projects.







Sediment Basin BMP


Sediment Basin BMP used to collect sediment laden runoff during active construction of the Smithfield Towne Center project. A skimmer device is used to dewater the basin from the surface after suspended sediments have settled to the basin bottom.





How do you go about writing an E&S plan?

An E&S plan is site-specific and will include a plan narrative and plan drawings. The plan needs to be prepared by a qualified individual trained and experienced in E&S control methods applicable to the size and scope of the project. First, determine how substantial or complex the earth disturbance activities will be. Consider the slope, soil erodibility conditions, bulk earth moving requirements, drainage patterns, proximity to streams or wetlands, and stormwater runoff from the site.


We have separated the E&S plan information into two basic categories for you:


How big is one acre?


Determining the surface area of your earth disturbance is an important step, and you should proceed with caution if your project is near one acre in size. An earth disturbance of one acre or greater will require an NPDES permit.


  • One Acre = exactly 43,560 square feet or approximately the size of a football field without the end zones
  • Length x width = area of a square or rectangle shape (for example 300 feet x 160 feet = 48,000 square feet)
  • Now, convert square feet to acres, square feet/43,560 = acre (for example 48,000/43,560=1.1 acre)
  • Not every project is a simple square or rectangle, so we suggest breaking it down into smaller sections and then add those up to find the total area; we have created this handy Earth Disturbance Area Calculation Chart  for your use.
  • Also, we find the measurement tools available at the Huntingdon County Online Web Mapping Tax Parcel Viewer or Google Earth Pro are also very useful.


If your project is 0.99 acres or less, please reference our Projects Under One Acre page for more details on preparing an E&S plan.


For large earth disturbance projects of one acre or greater, not including agricultural plowing or tilling, animal heavy use areas, oil and gas, timber harvest or road maintenance activities, an NPDES permit is required. Please visit our Projects Over One Acre page for more information. Our technician can refer you to a list of qualified consultants in the area to prepare the NPDES permit application, Post Construction Stormwater Management (PCSM) and E&S plans for your project.

Timber Harvest and Road Maintenance activities involving 25 acres or more of earth disturbance require an E&S Control Permit. All timber harvest operations over 5000 square feet require a timber harvest E&S plan. Please visit our timber harvest page for more information or contact our E&S Technician.


Oil and Gas activities of 5 acres or more of earth disturbance over the life of the project require an E&S Permit.


All agricultural operations over 5000 square feet require an Agricultural E&S Plan. Contact the District Chesapeake Bay/Nutrient Management Technician for assistance.


Once the plan is written, it must be implemented and kept available for use on-site during all earth disturbance activities. If a permit is required for your activities, construction may only begin after the plan is approved and a permit is authorized.


If you are unsure of your earth disturbance activity and potential Chapter 102 requirements, please contact the HCCD staff.     We are here to help!

If you would like more technical information on the Chapter 102 program or stormwater pollution prevention, please visit these links below: