Erosion Control & Sedimentation Control

The Erosion and Sedimentation Control division includes plan review, permits, and site inspections for land disturbance of more than one acre, inlcuding those under a common plan of development. Land disturbing activity includes grading for construction, businesses, roadways, etc. For more information, check the Frequently Asked Questions or call/email Toni Norton.

Frequently Asked Questions

Stormwater Runoff is rainfall that flows over the ground surface. It is created when rain falls on roads, driveways, parking lots, rooftops, and other paved surfaces that do not allow water to soak into the ground. Stormwater runoff is the number one cause of stream impairment in urban areas.

For sites disturbing one acre or more: Builders are required to obtain an Erosion Control Permit.

For sites disturbing less than one acre: Builders are required to obtain a Small Site Erosion Control Permit.

Any grading, landscaping, land clearing, or other activity that moves soils is considered ‘disturbing’. Tree removal is only land disturbing if stumps are removed.


You may use the How much ground am I disturbing? tool to calculate the acreage being disturbed by your project, or you may contact the Erosion and Sedimentation Control Office at 828-465-8161 for assistance in calculating the acreage, and give you a brief step-by-step overview of the process.

For sites disturbing less than one acre:

  • Complete a Small Site Erosion Control Permit Application and a State-required Financial Responsibility/Ownership Form. A $50 project management fee will be collected for the permit.
  • Submit your forms and payment in person at the following Permit Center Location:

Catawba County Government
Permit Center
25 Government Drive
Newton, NC 28658
Phone: (828) 465-8399

  • You may pay your project management fee using cash, check, debit card, Visa or MasterCard, or pre-established County Charge Account over the phone or directly in the Permit Center Location.

For sites disturbing one acre or more:

  • Before beginning a grading project, submit your plans (click here for a helpful plan checklist) and complete a State required Financial Responsibility/Ownership Form. Take three (3) sets of plans and one (1) set of calculations to one of our two locations and make your payment at the Permit Center in Newton or over the phone.
  • When your project is ready for permitting, an Erosion Control Permit Application will need to be filled out and signed.
  • No additional fee is charged for the permit.

Before beginning a grading project, we recommend that you take the following steps:

  • Calculate the acreage being disturbed by your project using the How much ground am I disturbing? tool.
  • When you have your plans ready to submit (click here for a helpful plan checklist), you will need to complete a State required Financial Responsibility/Ownership Form.
  • After completing the Financial Responsibility form, take three (3) sets of plans and one (1) set of calculations to one of the two locations:
    • Catawba County Goverment
      (For Plans drop off and payments)
      Permit Center
      25 Government Drive
      Newton, NC 28658
      Phone: (828) 465-8399
    • Hickory City Hall
      (Plans drop off box ONLY)
      Zoning Office
      76 North Center Hall
      Hickory, NC 28601
      Phone: (828) 465-8399
  • You may pay your plan review fee using cash, check, debit card, Visa or MasterCard, or pre-established County Charge Account over the phone or directly in the Permit Center Location.
  • When your plans are dropped off at the Permit Center, you will be given your plan case number, a receipt for payment, and instructions on how you may use our online permit center to monitor the progress of your plans. We will be glad to show you how to use this system if you need help.

For sites disturbing less than one acre: A $50 project management fee will be collected when you submit your Small Site Erosion Control Permit application.

For sites disturbing one acre or more:

  • A $200 plan review fee, which includes the first acre disturbed, will be collected when you drop off your plans.
  • In addition to the $200 fee, a $150 per additional acre of disturbed area will be collected when you drop off your plans, as listed on the fee schedule.
  • You may contact Toni Norton at 828-465-8161 to assist you with calculating the fee for your project.
  • If you need help in calculating what your fee will be, check the following examples:
    • 10-acre:
      If you have a 10-acre disturbance, you would pay the $200 plan review fee plus $150 times the 9-acres remaining = $1,350 for a total of $1,550.
    • 4.5-acre:
      If you have a 4.5-acre disturbance, you would pay the $200 plan review fee plus $150 times the 4-acres remaining = $600 for a total of $800.
    • 1-acre:
      If you were disturbing exactly 1-acre, you would pay the $200 plan review fee only.

After you get the necessary plan review approval, you will be ready to get your Erosion Control Permit. You will be contacted by phone and/or mail that your plans are ready for permitting by the erosion control plan review officer or other staff. The Financially Responsible Party will be contacted in writing if listed differently from the Owner on the State required form.

Please report any mud leaving a construction site to Toni Norton at 828-465-8161 and specify the location of the erosion problem. If a violation is found and documented, a Notice of Violation (NOV) will be imposed on the site.

  • If a construction site is out of compliance, and receives a Notice of Violation, the project may not have any activity, i.e. building inspections, until the NOV re-inspection fine is paid to the Catawba County Finance Department. Fines and re-inspection fees may NOT be charged to your account; they must be paid by cash or check.