allegrow rural environmental logo
allegrow rural environmental logo

Earthworks

If the earthworks aren’t managed properly from the get-go, you can end up with problems with erosion of the open ground which can potentially lead to sediment getting into our waterways or creating a dust issue (if the rain ever stops!).

It is really important to make sure you put the correct controls in place before you start the work and keep them in place until the work is finished in order to minimise any adverse effects from the earthworks.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has set rules to manage the adverse effects from earthworks. These are found in the Bay of Plenty Operative Regional Natural Resources Plan with a flow chart to determine whether the earthworks are permitted or may require a resource consent, depending on their size, scale, nature and slope. The Land Management Section Rules LM R1 – LM R4, alongside Flow Diagram LM1 will help determine whether you need a consent or not.

But whatever the extent of your earthworks there are few key rules. Avoid the following:

  • Discharging untreated stormwater to vegetation or water courses
  • Blocking river or stream flows
  • Causing erosion
  • Damage to wetlands
  • Causing a dust nuisance off site; and
  • Machinery must be kept out of the streambed (except for unavoidable stream crossing)

In some cases, you may also require a consent from the local City or District Council, who will look at other aspects of the earthworks (particularly subdivisions), land use, landscape, amenity values and protection of heritage sites.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council have put together a helpful guideline to how to manage erosion and how to implement and manage sediment controls on your earthworks site, no matter how large or small.

Cover page of Erosion and Sediment control booklet. With green background at the bottom and picture of large scale earthworks above it.

This is being updated at present, but the same principles apply. Different sites will require different types of controls to manage any potential effects of the earthworks. In all but minor works, it is best practice to put together an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan (ESCP), which specifies what methods and controls you will put in place, and what maintenance and monitoring you will undertake to ensure that the controls are effective to control sediment runoff and erosion.

If you search for “Erosion and Sediment Control Plan Template” there are a number of examples available from small to large earthworks sites.

As an example, the Waikato Regional Council have a put together a guideline on what should be included (as a minimum) in an ESCP.

There are also guidelines for erosion and sediment control for forestry operations, which can be found here.

Cover page of Erosion and Sediment control for forestry operations booklet. WIth green background at the top and white at the bottom with BOP Regional council logo. In the middle picture of forestry in the foreground and mountain in the distance.

 

 

Jessica Hunter 

Environmental Consultant