FDEP Certification Program Study Guide

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Erosion is the process by which the land surface is worn away by the action of wind, water, and gravity.

Sedimentation is the settling out of soil particles transported by water and wind.

Soil erosion can be classified as either wind erosion or water erosion.

Water erosion can be classified as either overland erosion or stream and channel erosion.

The four processes of overland erosion are:  (1) splash or rain drop erosion (2) sheet erosion, (3) rill erosion, and (4) gully erosion.


The four principle factors influencing soil erosion are:

(1) soil characteristics, (2) vegetative cover,    (3) topography, and (4) climate.


Physical effects of erosion and sedimentation: 

1) increase flooding, 2) reduced hydraulic capacity in rivers, streams, channels, reservoirs, 3) increased maintenance of stormwater systems, 4) increased water treatment costs, 5) decreased recreational value.

Biological effects of erosion and sedimentation:

1)reduced light for aquatic plants, 2) clogs fish gills, 3) impairs spawning, 4) disrupts food chain, 5) blankets bottom, suppresses aquatic life, 6) disrupts ecosystem.

Planning the development to fit the terrain using the particular: 

(1) topography, (2) soils, (3) drainage patterns, (4) and natural vegetation of the site.

Minimize the extent of the area exposed at one time and the duration of exposure.

Apply perimeter control practices to protect the disturbed area from off-site runoff and to protect off-site areas from sediment damage.

Apply erosion control practices to prevent excessive on-site damage.

Keep runoff velocities low and retain runoff on the site.               

Stabilize disturbed areas immediately after final grading.


Implement a thorough maintenance and follow-up (inspection) program.


Soil particles smaller than 0.002 mm are classified as clay and muck and are the two soil types that cause the most erosion/turbidity problems in Florida.        

Soils in the Type A hydrologic group have high infiltration rates and low runoff potential even when thoroughly wetted.


Soils in the Type D hydrologic group have very low infiltration rates and high runoff potential when thoroughly wetted.

The rainfall erosion index is the only factor in the Universal Soil Loss Equation which is beyond the developer's control.


Slope length & gradient, and cover factor are the factors most easily manipulated by the developer. 


Florida ERP’s (Environmental Resource Permit) integrate stormwater quantity and quality, as well as wetland protection requirements, into a single permit.

Based upon EPA guidance, FDEP has determined that demolition activities also meet the definition of construction activities

The Construction Generic Permit requires Development and implementation of a SWPPP, Post a copy of the NOI or acknowledgment letter, undergo inspections, retain records and submit a NOT.

A Phase II NPDES Stormwater Construction Generic Permit is required for projects that disturb 1 or more acres of land.

The Florida NPDES Phase II Construction Generic Permit requires inspections weekly, and within 24 hours of the end of a storm event ½ inches or greater.

The SWPPP must be revised within seven calendar days following an inspection when additions and/or modifications to BMPs are necessary to correct observed problems.

The Florida NPDES Construction Generic Permit requires sediment basins for areas 10 acres or more.

The Florida NPDES Construction Generic Permit requires the development and implementation of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan.


During Phase I of construction, even the smallest sites will require installation of  perimeter control practices prior to site development.

During Phase II of construction, the components of the permanent stormwater system are constructed and connected to the stormwater facilities.         

Never service construction equipment near a live stream, use storm sewers instead. (True / False ).

Waste disposal is a problem for the individual    workers and some subcontractors, but it's no big deal (True / False).

Truck washing should be done in a designated area, not near the perimeter controls. (True / False).    

Storage of paints, solvents, cements, pesticides, acids, or other potentially polluting chemicals is no big deal because they are only stored temporarily and get used up quickly. (True / False).

The public needs to understand that dust is just a normal part of construction. (True / False).          

A temporary gravel construction entrance must extend the full width of the entrance.  It must be at least 50 ft. long and at least 6 in. thick. Aggregate should be 2 in. stone or FDOT No.1 stone.

Prior to installing the gravel, a geotextile should be placed on the ground to simplify installation and maintenance.  Maintenance should be performed when void spaces are full of sediments

The maximum drainage area for a silt fence under sheet flow conditions is ¼ acre per 100 feet of barrier length.

The average usable life of a silt fence is 6 months.    

For proper installation of a silt fence, a trench 4 inches deep and 4 inches wide must be excavated.  this will allow 8 inches of fabric to extend into the ground for backfilling and compaction.

The maximum drainage area for an inlet protection is 1 acre.

The purpose of a sediment trap is to detain turbid water

The maximum drainage area for a temporary sediment trap is 5 acres.  The initial storage capacity is 134 cubic yards per acre.  Maximum life should be 18 months.

When constructing a pipe outlet sediment trap, the top of the riser pipe must be at least 1.5 feet below the top of the embankment.

When constructing a storm inlet sediment trap, the trap shall be between one and two feet deep measured from the low point of the outlet.

The purpose of a sediment basin is to detain turbid runoff from disturbed areas.

A sediment basin is required for drainage areas more than 5 acres.

In a sediment trap or basin, baffles are used to increase flow length.

Th maximum allowable drainage area for a temporary slope drain is 5 acres.

A diversion or earthen dike shall be used to direct stormwater into the temporary slope drain.

The height of the dike at the inlet shall be equal to the pipe diameter plus 6”.

The maximum spacing between check dams should be that the bottom of the upstream dam is at the same elevation as the top of the downstream dam.

Sediment should be removed from check dams, when it reaches one-half of the original height or before.

A floating turbidity curtain is designed to contain sediment laden water and allow enough time for sediments to settle our to suspension.

A type III floating turbidity curtain may be used in considerable flow conditions, meaning less than 5 feet per second or 3 knots.

In following water turbidity curtains should be placed parallel to the direction of flow, not perpendicular.

Anchor lines shall be attached to buoys, not to the bottom of the curtain or float.

In tidal and/or wind and wave conditions there should be a 1 foot gap between the bottom of the curtain and the floor of the water body at mean low water.


Two common methods of dewatering in Florida that produce relatively clean water are well-point and horizontal well.

Sediment Traps and Basins, Weir Tanks and Dewatering Tanks and Chemical Treatment are technologies commonly used to treat turbidity.

The right chemical must be used at the right dosage

Chemical treatment systems require the mixing of the chemical and turbid water for flocculation to occur.

Before discharge, water should be checked for Turbidity and PH Level.


Stormwater BMP maintenance can be classified as aesthetic, functional or corrective.

Reasons to perform inspections and maintenance on stormwater systems after construction are:  reduce pollutants, decrease flood risk, decrease stream channel instability, decrease potential for loss of life & property, decrease aesthetic, health or nuisance problems and keep from wasting time, energy, and money.

Online BMPs capture all of the runoff and Offline BMPs divert a portion of the runoff and isolate it from the remaining discharge.

When clearing a site and preparing for fill, tree and root debris should be (burned and buried under fill / removed from the fill area)

Placing two feet of fill and compacting it all at once is better than filling and compacting in 6" lifts (T / F)   

Pipes and structures can be damaged by heavy compactors and should be backfilled and compacted in small lifts with small compactors (T / F)

A retention basin is designed to retain stormwater on site and allow time for percolation into the ground.

When constructing a retention basin with heavy equipment, special care must be taken to avoid excessive compaction of surface soils, especially in the basin floor.

Storage volume must be recovered within 72 hrs.   

The purpose of a detention basin is to temporarily store runoff and release it at a controlled rate.   

All inlets, outlets, and other control structures should be inspected after each major storm event

The purpose of an underdrain is to filter stormwater/runoff contained in detention facilities prior to discharge to receiving waters.

Underdrains and filters should be monitored after major storm events to be sure that the required storage volume is available within 72 hours.

By definition a swale should have side slopes no steeper 3:1.

A swale is a good place to recycle yard debris since it's organic. (True / False).


A stormwater conveyance channel is a permanent, designed waterway; shaped and lined with appropriate material (erosion resistant): to safely conduct (convey) runoff away from a developing area.

The purpose of a paved flume is to safely conduct runoff down the face of a slope. (T/F)

The purpose of a diversion is to direct stormwater to a stabilized area. (T/F)

The maximum height of a check dam is 2 feet.  The center of the check dam shall be at least 6 inches lower than the outer edges.

The maximum spacing between check dams should be such that the bottom(toe) of the upstream dam is at same elevation as the top of the downstream dam.

Sediments should be removed before they reach ½ (50%) of the original height of the dam.

An outlet protection device is designed to prevent scour at outlets and minimize erosion downstream by reducing the velocity of concentrated stormwater flows.

The three purposes for riprap are:  protect soil surface from erosion, slow the velocity of water flow, and stabilize slopes.

When placing riprap over geotextile, great care must be taken to avoid damaging the geotextile while placing the stone.


The purposes of soil roughening are: aid in establishment of vegetative cover; reduce runoff velocity & increase infiltration and reduce erosion and provide for sediment trapping.

The purpose of topsoiling is to provide a suitable growth medium for final site stabilization with vegetation.

The subgrade should be prepared by discing or scarifying to insure bonding of the topsoil with the subsoil.

Areas that are at rough grade for 14 days or more should receive temporary seeding immediately.      

List three soil conditioners: peat, sand, vermiculite, rotted manure, rotted sawdust, treated sewage sludge (biosolids).

Name the two soil amendments usually required prior to permanent seeding: fertilizer and lime.   

A stand of vegetation is considered fully established after one year.

When sodding a slope, strips should be laid (along/ perpendicular to) the contour. Joints should be (staggered/ in line). Start from the bottom and work toward the top.

The beneficial functions of mulch are:

1)Protects soil from raindrop erosion, 2) Moderates soil temperature, 3) Moderates soil moisture, 4) Reduces velocity of overland flow, 4) Improves soil texture and/or nutrients, 5) Control/reduce weeds. 

Straw mulch should be applied at rate of 70-90 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft.; 1 ½ - 2 bales per 1000 sq. ft.; or 1 ½ - 2 tons per acre.

When installing erosion control nets or blankets, work from the top towards the bottom.

Effective tree protection should be installed no closer than 5 feet from the trunk or the Critical Root Zone of the tree.

A good place for material storage, parking, and portable toilets is inside the tree protection zone. (True / False).


The four elements of and erosion and sediment control plan are:

Narrative; Map (Site Plan); Details, Specification & Notes; and Calculations.

The construction schedule is found in the narrative part of the plan.

The limits of clearing and grading appear in the site plan (map) part of the plan.

Information about what type of filter fabric, seed, post, etc. and how to use them is found in the details, specification & notes section.

To determine how much area drains to a particular measure, look in the calculations section.

After identifying all critical areas in the plan, the superintendent should then identify the location & extent of these areas on the ground.

Check the construction schedule to determine the timing and sequence of BMP installation, clearing and grading.

During the pre-construction conference, the superintendent and the inspector should discuss and agree on all aspects of the plan.

One of the first things to do in preparing the site is to mark out all traffic circulation routes and storage areas.

The next thing to do is begin installation of erosion and sediment control BMPs

Any erosion damage to BMPs should be fixed immediately.

The two major concerns during building construction are: more equipment & people on site and more excavation.

BMPs should be removed when (the schedule says so / when the superintendent and inspector agree / when they are needed on another job site / at the end of each working day.


In addition to technical knowledge, the inspector must be able to effectively deal with people.

In dealing with the public it is most important to follow proper procedures, and to always be courteous and fair

The erosion and sediment control rules are performance oriented.  This means that the BMPs must be effective in controlling erosion and preventing off-site sedimentation for the site to be in compliance.

Off-site sedimentation is excusable only if all BMPs have been installed per an approved plan (True/ False).     


The inspector's job is to: 1) Determine that an erosion & sediment control plan has been approved (permitted); 2) Determine that all BMPs are properly installed and maintained per plan; 3) Determine that off-site sedimentation is being prevented; 4) Turbidity is being prevented.         

The inspector should write an inspection report (if the site is in violation / only if there is a new violation / for every inspection).

Inspection reports should be written (once a week / in your spare time / at the end of the day / first thing in the morning / while you are on the job site

The first step in inspecting a project is to review plans when first submitted. 

When reviewing plans, locate the project with respect to the watershed and determine how water enters and leaves the site.

Critical or sensitive areas are: wetlands, water bodies, severe grades, erodible soils,  endangered or threatened species or habitats, conservation or preservation easements, prescribed buffers, cut or fill slopes, stream crossings, channels, pipe outlets, diversions, ponds, construction accesses, erodible soils, stormwater management system components, active highways/roads.

Study the construction schedule to determine when BMPs will be installed.

The best place for a pre-construction conference is ( a donut shop/ on the job site/ a cocktail lounge/ all three in that order ).

Be sure to designate a single contact person for communicating concerns about erosion and sediment control.

Be sure that all parties posses and understand a copy of the approved erosion & sediment control plan.

When discussing the construction schedule, be sure to emphasize which BMPs  must be installed before actual clearing and grading begins.

Which of the following, if any, should you bring with you for a site inspection? (a copy of the approved plan, the project file, reporting forms, all of the above).

The first thing to do after you arrive on the job site is to ( hide and spy for a while/ check in with the superintendent/ start inspecting the perimeter first/ start inspecting the interior drainage first ).

The next thing to do is to walk ( the perimeter/ the interior ), starting at the (bottom / top ) and working your way to the ( bottom/ top).

List the three causes of non-compliance: 1) Little or no effort to comply, 2) inadequate design or changes in site conditions, 3) faulty installation and/or poor maintenance.

The construction entrance should be constructed of course stone spread over a layer of geotextile fabric.

Excessive sediment buildup around an inlet protection device indicates either improper maintenance or too large of a contributing area.

Undercutting of a silt fence indicates that it was not properly trenched in and/or backfilled and compacted.

Gullies in a channel bottom indicate the velocity is too high.

Sloughing from the channel sides indicates stability problems.

Sediment below a channel outlet indicate that erosion is occurring either in the channel or in it’s watershed.

When lining a channel or outlet with riprap, be sure that the designed cross-section has not changed.