Soil Erosion & Sediment Control

Permit Process & Plans

Soil erosion and sediment control is important to sustaining our lakes and streams. Erosion and sedimentation can result in loss of fertile topsoil, filling of lakes and streams, increased flooding, damage to plant and animal life, and structural damage to buildings and roads.

Construction is a major cause of erosion in Michigan. Without proper planning and management, more than 100 tons of sediment per acre of land per year can be generated on some construction sites.

To help control and minimize soil erosion and sediment deposits into the waters of Michigan, the City of Midland Planning and Community Development Department enforces Part 91, Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control (SESC), of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended or as may be amended in the future, (Part 91), on construction projects undertaken within the city limits.

SESC Plan & Permit Requirements

A Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control (SESC) plan and permit application must be prepared for any earth change that disturbs an area of 1 or more acres or that is within 500 feet of a lake or stream.

There are exceptions to this requirement:

  • Activities involving plowing and tilling for crop production and some logging and mining activities are exempted.
  • However, access roads to the logging and mining sites and ancillary activities associated with logging and mining operations are not exempt.
  • In addition, the removal of clay, gravel, sand, peat, or topsoil is not considered "mining" and therefore requires a permit.

An SESC permit is required before any work begins on projects that result in earth changes as described above.

Permit Application

After filling out the form completely, print it out, have the land owner and designated agent for the site sign and date it, and return it to the City of Midland Building Department along with two copies of the SESC plan and payment for the calculated permit fee amount.

At the time of filing an application for a permit under article V of Chapter 5, the following nonrefundable fee shall be charged for plan review and site inspections:

1—2 family residential up to one (1) acre one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) for first acre, seventy-five dollars ($75.00) for each additional acre or fraction thereof.

All other uses up to one (1) acre two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) for first acre, seventy-five dollars ($75.00) for each additional acre or fraction thereof.

Permit extension beyond one (1) year, for each additional year or fraction thereof, shall be half the base fee described above.

Failure to secure a permit prior to commencement of earth disturbance shall result in an additional fee equal to base permit fee described above.

Failure to remove temporary soil erosion and sedimentation control measures within thirty (30) days of site stabilization shall result in an additional fee of one-half (½) times the base fee described above, plus the actual city costs to remove the control measures.

SESC Permit Application

If an earth change activity covered under Part 91 and this article commences without the proper permit, the fees will be doubled.


The SESC plan must include the following:

  • A map or maps drawn to scale. A map must include a legal description and site location sketch that includes the proximity of any proposed earth change to lakes or streams, or both; predominant land features; and contour intervals or slope description.
  • A soils survey or written description of the soil types of the exposed land area contemplated for the earth change.
  • Details for proposed earth changes including:
    • Description and location of the physical limits of each proposed earth change
    • Description and location of all existing and proposed on-site drainage and de-watering facilities.
    • The timing and sequence of each proposed earth change
    • A description and the location of all proposed temporary soil erosion control measures
    • The location and description for installing and removing all proposed permanent soil erosion and sediment control measures
    • A program proposal for the continued maintenance of all permanent soil erosion and sediment control measures that remain after the project is completed, including the designation of the person responsible for the maintenance
    • Maintenance responsibilities shall become a part of any sales or exchange agreement for the land on which the permanent soil erosion control measures are located
    • Other information as required by the City's Building Department

SESC plans along with the SESC permit application will be reviewed by the SESC administrator or his designee to ensure that plans are in compliance with the requirements of Part 91.

Site Inspection

The SESC administrator, designated by the City of Midland chief building inspector, may access (at all reasonable times) any site where an "earth change" is in progress in order to determine whether the conditions called for in the permit are being met.

Violations of Part 91 or a violation of a permit of an approved soil erosion and sedimentation control plan, the SESC administrator will contact the "on-site" responsible person, contractor or land owner in person or by telephone and inform them of the violations, and give them 1 to 2 days to comply, depending on the violation. Or, the SESC administrator may issue a civil infraction, cease and desist*, and or/stop work** order using procedure as provided in chapter 34 of the City's Code of Ordinances and Part 91 of the State law to the land owner, contractor or on-site responsible person.

  • *A cease and desist order is a directive to discontinue or cease doing something that has resulted in a SESC violation such as stopping earth work that resulted in a discharge of sediment or stopping earth work until a permit has been obtained.
  • **A stop work order directs all work on the site to be halted until violations are corrected. Once violations are corrected, the SESC administrator will lift the cease and desist or stop work order.

The SESC administrator may also seek remedies in court, as allowed through the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. (PA 451 of 1994 as may be amended).

Violations of an approved permit and/or Part 91 of PA 451 may result in:

  • Civil fines of up to $25,000 for each day of the violation
  • The installation / maintenance of control measures to bring the site into compliance with the law
  • Restoration of all areas affected by the violation

In addition, if a violation of Part 91 is observed in a situation where no SESC permit was required because the earth change was less than 1 acre or farther than five hundred feet from a lake or stream, the SESC administrator may require and issue a SESC permit on these projects.

Appeal Process

Determinations by the SESC administrator may be appealed following the procedure provided in Section 5-26 of the City's Code of Ordinances.

Find Out More

For more information about soil erosion and sedimentation control, contact the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). You may also call 989-837-3383 or stop by the City's Building Department at Midland City Hall with your questions.