Erosion and Sediment Control (ESC)

Erosion and sediment on PEI
Controlling erosion of sediment from development sites is an ongoing issue across Prince Edward Island (PEI). The fine particulate nature of PEI’s soil makes it particularly susceptible to erosion. Sediment is defined as a contaminant in the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) (Environmental Protection Act, 2022, Section 1, Part B).

What are the negative impacts of erosion and sediment?
When sediment enters a watercourse or waterbody in high concentrations it causes negative impacts, including smothering benthic organisms, reducing egg-laying habitat, blocking sunlight from aquatic plants, excessive nutrient loading, damage to fish gills, reducing visibility in water, reducing water quality, and creating costly restoration projects for future generations. Our project to rehabilitate the Pondside watershed system is a direct result of several years’ worth of heavy sedimentation from upstream development sites entering and settling in the system.

Controlling erosion and sediment
The Town of Stratford, in partnership with the Stratford Area Watershed Improvement Group (SAWIG), have created a set of guidelines that developers and contractors should follow, which lays out best practices for control structures and methods and explains the current regulatory environment relating to sediment and erosion control. We have also created a brochure to act as a quick reference guide for contractors and construction workers to follow best practices on site.

Types of projects
There are two types of projects, with different requirements depending on size and proximity to critical areas. A critical area refers to all areas that can be negatively impacted by sedimentation, including but not limited to existing developments, public roadways, watercourses and other natural ecosystems and habitats.

  • A Type 1 project is less than 0.4 hectares (ha) of soil disturbance and not in close proximity to critical areas. Type 1 projects are required to follow the ESC best practices as outlined in Section 4.2 of the Town of Stratford guidelines.
  • A Type 2 project is greater than 0.4 ha of soil disturbance and/or adjacent to a critical area. Type 2 projects are required to submit a full ESC plan for approval prior to initiating striping or grading. The Town of Stratford Erosion and Sediment Control Guidelines document explains these requirements in depth.

We have also created a pre-disturbance checklist and a weekly checklist to use to identify control structures that they have put in place prior to beginning development, and to regularly check the condition of these structures at least once per week and prior to heavy rainfall events.

Further guidance on runoff events
SAWIG regularly monitors runoff after heavy rain events downstream of development sites within the Town of Stratford and communicates with developers and contractors to provide guidance on erosion and sediment control measures and reminders to repair structures when they are damaged due to runoff events.

Example of water quality monitoring for sedimentation:
SAWIG Water SamplingThe Water Act Public Consultation Report released in May 2016 states that, following the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) guidelines, human activities should not increase suspended sediment concentrations by more than 25 mg/L above background levels during any short-term exposure period. Applying this guideline to PEI would mean a province-wide maximum permitted level of 29 mg/L of total suspended solids (TSS) in watercourses (Water Act Public Consultation Report, 2016, p.24). 

Runoff comparison (2021):
Runoff Comparison

Poor Control Structures:

Poor Control Structures
Good Control Structures:
Good Control Structures

If you have any questions or concerns at any time, please call the Town of Stratford front desk at 902-569-1995 and someone from our Erosion and Sediment Control Team will get back to you as soon as possible.

Additional Resources:

Environmental Protection Act, RSPEI 1988, c.E-9. Current May 2022. environmental_protection_act.pdf

Water Act Public Consultation Report. May 2016. Environmental Advisory Council.

 Logo This project was funded in part by the EcoAction Community Funding Program through Environment and Climate Change Canada.