Georgia Water/Laws/Erosion and Sedimentation Act of 1975

Erosion and Sedimentation Act of 1975 , O.C.G.A. §§ 12-7-1

General Description


The Georgia Erosion and Sedimentation Act requires that each county or municipality adopt a comprehensive ordinance establishing procedures governing land-disturbing activities based on the minimum requirements established by the Act.

Administration & Permitting system


The Erosion and Sedimentation Act is administered by the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and by local governments. Permits are required for specified "land-disturbing activities," including the construction or modification of manufacturing facilities, construction activities, certain activities associated with transportation facilities, activities on marsh hammocks, etc. With certain constraints, permitting authority can be delegated to local governments.

Application to water


One provision of the Erosion and Sedimentation Act requires that land-disturbing activities shall not be conducted within 25 feet of the banks of any State waters unless a variance is granted (O.C.G.A. 12-7-6-(15)).

Construction of single family residences under contract with the owner are exempt from the permit requirement but are still required to meet the standards of the Act (O.C.G.A. 12-7-17-(4)).

Large development projects, both residential and commercial, must obtain a permit and meet the requirements of the Act. According to the Georgia Coastal Management Act, any permits or variances issued under the Erosion and Sedimentation Act must be consistent with the Georgia Coastal Management Program. Permits within the jurisdiction of the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act and the Shore Protection Act can include requirements that certain minimum water quality standards be met as a condition of the permit.



There are specific exemptions to the requirements of the Erosion and Sedimentation Act (O.C.G.A. 12-7-17 - Exemptions). The exemptions include: surface mining, granite quarrying, minor land-disturbing activities such as home gardening, construction of single-family homes built or contracted by the homeowner for his own occupancy, agricultural practices, forestry land management practices, dairy operations, livestock and poultry management practices, construction of farm buildings, and any projects carried out under the supervision of the Natural Resource Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Exemptions from the requirements of the Act also apply to any project involving 1.1 acres or less, provided that the exemption does not apply to any land-disturbing activities within 200 feet of the bank of any State waters.