#ECSC0816 Erosion Control vs. Sediment Control


Erosion is the wearing away of land when soil particles become detached by water, wind or human activities. Erosion can be intensified by construction activity such as; land- clearing practices, new development, redevelopment, or road construction.

Erosion Control

Erosion control is the primary control practice to protect soil surface and soil particles from being detached by construction activities, rainfall, flowing water, or wind.

Erosion Control Methods

  • Disturb as little of the land surface as possible
  • Apply soil binders, hydro-seeding, or compost blankets
  • Implement erosion control methods before a rain event or if the area is inactive for more than 14 days
  • Large, mass-graded sites need attention because the soil exposure can comingle with rain fall and may lead to potentially large amounts of sediment discharging to surface waters


Sediment is soil, sand, and minerals washed from land into water typically after rain events. Construction activities without proper implementation of BMPs can expose sediment materials from being discharged into reservoirs, rivers, lakes, oceans, and harbors. As a result, sediment destroys fish nesting areas and clouds the water, preventing sunlight from reaching aquatic plants.

Sediment Control

Sediment control is the secondary control practice to trap soil particles after they have been detached and moved by construction activities, rain, flowing water, or wind. Sediment control measures are usually passive systems that rely on filtering or settling particulates out of water or wind erosion.

Sediment Control Methods

  • Silt fences, fiber rolls, gravel bags, cutback curbs
  • A perimeter control should be established as sediment control measures
  • Filter fabric, rumble plates and 3-6 inch aggregate at construction entrance

More sediment control BMPs can be found in the CASQA BMP Handbook. Refer to the CASQA BMP Handbook for proper installation of sediment and erosion control measures.


If continuous breaches or violations are occurring onsite despite implementing BMPs designated on the SWPPP Map, contact your QSP/QSD. Your QSD can make an amendment to your SWPPP to implement additional BMPs to accurately reflect your current jobsite and thereby eliminate erosion and sediment control issues.