[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Falls Township 5-6-1988 by Ord. No. 88-8. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Falls Township Earth Disturbance, Drainage and Erosion Control Ordinance."
The purpose of this chapter is to regulate any modification of the natural terrain, the alteration of drainage, the maintenance of artificial structures and surfaces and the removal of topsoil within Falls Township so as to assure and safeguard the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of Falls Township.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation or entity of any kind or nature to pave, fill, strip, grade or regrade any land within Falls Township without first securing a permit as herein after provided.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation or entity of any kind or nature to disturb, modify, block, divert or affect the natural overland or subsurface flow of surface water and/or stormwater within Falls Township without first securing a permit as hereinafter provided.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation or entity of any kind or nature to construct, erect or install any drainage, dam, ditch, culvert, drain pipe, bridge or any other structure or obstruction of any kind or nature affecting the drainage of any premises in Falls Township without first securing a permit as hereinafter provided.
The application for a permit to be issued pursuant to this chapter shall be accompanied by a map or diagram of the property in question showing the location of all present and proposed ditches, streams, pipes and other drainage structures and cuts or fills. In addition, such plan must show the elevations, dimensions, locations and extent of all proposed grading and/or drainage. The plan shall clearly indicate all buildings, parking areas and driveways. Additionally, the plans must indicate the present and proposed sources, storage and disposition of water being channeled through or across the premises, together with elevation, gradients and maximum flow rates. The application shall describe any work to be performed, the materials to be used and the manner or method of performance, including provisions for protecting and maintaining the existing drainage facilities in Falls Township, whether on public or private property. If load bearing fill is proposed, a soils investigation report shall be submitted which shall consist of test borings, laboratory testings and engineering analysis to corrulate surface and subsurface conditions with the proposed rating plan. The results of the investigation shall be presented in a report by a soil engineer which report shall include data regarding the nature, distribution and supporting ability of the existing soils and rock on the site, conclusions and recommendations for grading requirements and erosion control and recommendations to ensure stable soil conditions and groundwater control as applicable. The Township may require such supplemental reports and data as it deems necessary. Recommendations included in such reports and approved by the Township shall be incorporated as specifications in the plan.
The application for permit to grade or otherwise disturb earth shall be accompanied by a permit fee of $5 for the first acre of land. If more than one acre is to be graded or otherwise disturbed, as described in the chapter, an additional fee of $15 per acre shall be charged for each acre graded or otherwise disturbed in excess of the first acre.
All applicants for permit involving an area greater than 1/2 acre shall, before any permit is granted, post a bond in a sum to be determined by the Township Engineer with a corporate surety to be approved by the Township Solicitor, conditions of which bond shall be full and complete compliance with this chapter and all terms of any permit issued hereunder. The minimum amount of any bond to be posted pursuant to this chapter shall be $10,000.
Upon the submission of an application which conforms to the provisions in this chapter, the Township Director of Community Development, after consultation with and approval of the Township Engineer, shall issue the necessary permit. For applications involving less than one acre, the Township Director of Community Development may issue the permit without consulting the Township Engineer where, in the sole discretion of the Township Director of Community Development, it is determined that the approval of the Township Engineer is not needed.
Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter, a condition of any permit issued pursuant to this chapter is that the permittee is responsible for the prevention of damage to other property or personal injury which may be caused by the activity requiring a permit and shall indemnify the Township and hold it harmless from any liability resulting from such damage or personal injury.
No person, firm, corporation or other entity of any kind shall modify, fill, excavate, regrade or disturb land in any manner so close to a property line so as to endanger or damage any adjoining public street, sidewalk, alley or any other public or private property without supporting and protecting such property from settling, cracking, erosion, sediment or other personal damage or personal injury which may result from such actions.
No person, firm, corporation or other entity of any kind or nature shall deposit or place any debris or any other material whatsoever or cause such to be thrown or placed in any drainage ditch or structure or swale or any watercourse of any kind or nature in such a manner so as to obstruct free flow of stormwater or surface water.
No person, firm, corporation or other entity of any kind or nature shall fail to adequately maintain in good operating order any drainage facility on his premises. All drainage ditches, culverts, drain pipes and drainage structures shall be kept open and free flowing at all times.
The owner of any property on which any work has been done pursuant to a permit graded under the provisions of this chapter shall continuously maintain and repair all graded surfaces, antierosion devices, retaining walls, graded structures or means and other protective devices, plantings and ground cover installed or completed.
All plans and specifications accompanying applications for permits shall include provisions for both interim (temporary) and ultimate (permanent) erosion and sediment control.
The design, installation and maintenance of erosion and sediment control measures shall be accomplished in accordance with guidelines as may be established, from time to time, by the United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service and the Bucks County Soil Conservation District.
All grade and surfaces shall be seeded, sodded and/or planted or otherwise protected from erosion as soon as practicable and shall be watered, tended and maintained until growth is well established at the time of completion and final inspection.
Natural and/or existing slopes exceeding five horizontal to one vertical shall be benched or continuously stepped into competent materials prior to placing all classes of fill.
Fills toeing out on natural slopes steeper than four horizontal to one vertical shall not be made unless approved by the Township after receipt of a report, deemed acceptable by the Township Engineer and by a Soil Engineer certifying that he has investigated the property, made soil tests and in his opinion, such steeper slope will safely support the proposed fill.
All trees in the areas of grade change shall be removed unless protected with suitable tree wells.
The following provisions apply to the carrying and disposal of stormwater runoff:
All drainage facilities shall be designed in the most practicable fashion to carry surface water and/or stormwater in such a manner as to prevent erosion, overflow or ponding.
The ponding of water shall not be permitted above cut or fill slopes or on drainage terraces, nor shall water be impounded on adjacent property. Adequate drainage facilities shall be provided to prevent such ponding.
The applicant shall make adequate provisions to prevent any surface waters from damaging the face of any excavation or fill. All slopes shall be temporarily and permanently protected from surface water runoff from above by interceptor and diversion berms, swales, brow or berm ditches and shall be sodded, seeded and planted, unless the Township determines such treatment as unnecessary and specifically waives this requirement
All drainage terraces, interceptor and diversion berms, swalves and brow or berm ditches shall be designed and constructed, and when required by the Township Engineer, shall be piped or paved or otherwise approved to the satisfaction of the Township.
When required, adequate provisions shall be made for such dust control measures as are deemed acceptable by the Township.
When required, the applicant shall agree to the granting and recording of easements for drainage facilities, including acceptance of the discharge of water on the property of others, provisions for maintenance of slopes and swales and access for the maintenance of antierosion facilities.
No excavation or regrading shall include the stripping or removal of topsoil for sale or for use other than in the premises from which the same shall be taken unless the Township Director of Community Development has determined that such topsoil need not be used in the premises.
Any person, firm, corporation or other entity of any kind or nature operating in a activity requiring a permit pursuant to this Chapter 122 shall provide to the Township within 10 days of receipt by such entity copies of all written communications and documents, reports, correspondence and other papers (collectively “documents”) related thereto received from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency or any other government entities which regulate or oversee operations related to earth disturbance, drainage and erosion control matters. Further, each such entity shall provide copies of all responses to documents and all materials referenced or included in such responses.
[Added 2-17-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-4]
The applicant in any activity requiring a permit shall request inspection by the Township Engineer and the following intervals:
Upon completion of stripping, stock piling of topsoil and disposal of all unsuitable material, but prior to beginning of any other preparation of the ground.
Upon completion of preparation of the ground to receive fill but prior to beginning any placement
Upon completion of rough grading, prior to placing topsoil, permanent drainage or other site development improvements and ground covers.
Upon completion of final grading, permanent drainage and erosion control facilities, including established ground coverage and plantings, and all other work required by the permit.
The applicant in all cases other than those referred to in Subsection A, after commencing initial operations, shall request inspections by the Township Engineer at the following stages in the development of the site or of each subdivision thereof:
Prior to commencement of grading operations to determine suitability of all proposed filled materials. All fill materials must be acceptable to the Township Engineer.
By completion of stripping, the stock piling of topsoil and disposal of all unsuitable material, but prior to beginning of any other preparation of the ground.
Upon completion of the preparation of the ground to receive fill prior to the beginning or placement, inspection of proof only.
Upon installation of structural fill, the following earth filled procedures are required:
Prior to placing fill in any area, provisions should be made to intercept or divert all surface water. Within the area of which fill is to be placed, the ground should be graded so as to provide for unobstructed drainage from every point to some disposal point.
The area should be closely examined to determine whether excessive wetness, springs or other seepage of water can be observed. If such conditions exist, drainage must be provided before placement of fill is undertaken.
When the fill area has been prepared as specified, the existing ground surface should be compacted by the specified method for compacting fill.
Fill should begin at the lowest section of the area. Fill should be spread in six-inch layers prior to compaction. Each layer should be approximately horizontal, but small slopes can be permitted in order to provide for surface water runoff.
Each layer of fill should be inspected prior to compaction. All roots, vegetation and debris should be removed. Stones larger than six inches in diameter should be removed or broken. The moisture content of each layer should be determined to be suitable for compaction.
The compaction of the fill should be done with a sheepsfoot roller, rubber tire roller or a vibratory roller. Other compaction equipment should be used only after it has been demonstrated that satisfactory results can be obtained with it.
Each layer of compacted fill must be tested to determine its dry density as per ASTM D 1556. The density of each layer should be not less than 95% of the maximum dropped density as determined by ASTM D 1557. The moisture content of the compacted layers should be not more than 4% less or 2% greater than the optimum moisture is determined by ASTM D 1557.
Only when the compacted layer has been shown to be as specified should other layers of fill be placed above it.
Visual inspection of borrow materials should be made periodically to assure that no variation of the fill material has occurred.
Upon completion of rough grading, but prior to placing topsoil, permanent drainage or other site development improvements and ground covers.
Upon completion of trench backfilling operations so that testing can be performed as specified.
Upon completion of final grading, permanent drainage and erosion control facilities, including established ground coverage and planning and all other work required by the permit.
All applicants shall bear all costs of inspections required hereunder, including but not limited to charges by the Township Engineer, and, if deemed necessary by the Township Director of Community Development, shall deposit with the Township Treasurer such sum as the Township Board of Supervisors shall determine to guarantee payment of the cost of such inspections. The costs of inspection shall be at the rate charged to the Township by the Township Engineer for projects involving land development.
[Amended 1-25-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-1]
Any person, firm or corporation who violates or permits a violation of this chapter shall be subject to a civil enforcement proceeding and, upon conviction, shall be sentenced to pay a civil penalty of not more than $600, plus all court costs, including reasonable attorney's fees, incurred by the Township in the enforcement of this chapter. Each day a violation exists shall constitute a separate offense. Further, the appropriate officers or agents of the Township are hereby authorized to file a complaint for such violation and seek any other available relief at law or equity, including injunction, to enforce compliance with this chapter.