Erosion Control & Stormwater Management (Chapter 17)

Application Information

Certification & Maintenance

Design Aids

Engineering Drawings


Although erosion is a natural process, human activity can greatly increase erosion rates resulting in harmful effects to the environment. Construction and agriculture activities normally remove vegetation from a land surface, allowing the erosive forces of wind and water to carry the sediment to surface waters more easily. More sediment comes from agriculture areas than from construction sites. However, the amount of soil eroded per acre from individual construction sites is often greater than the same area of agricultural land. Because construction site erosion produces such a heavy concentration of sediment, small areas can have a profound effects on surface water. Controlling stormwater runoff from these sites can accomplish large reductions in sediment pollutant load.

Stormwater runoff is water from rain storms or snow melt that flows over the land rather than evaporating or soaking into the ground. Urban areas generate more stormwater runoff than rural areas because buildings and pavement cover much of the land. These impervious surfaces will prevent water from percolating down into the ground, cause runoff to accumulate and funnel into storm drains at high speeds. When quickly flowing runoff empties into receiving waters, it can severely erode streambanks. Paved surfaces also transfer heat to runoff, thereby increasing the temperature of receiving waters. As development alters the natural landscape, the percentage of the land covered by impervious surfaces increases, initiating a chain of events that culminates in degraded water resources.

Chapter 17 Ordinance

The Erosion Control and Stormwater Management Code (ECSM) became effective January 1, 1998 and requires new land development activities to meet stormwater management and erosion control requirements. It replaces similar provisions that previously existed in the County Land Division Ordinance (Chapter 24 County Code) since 1978. This is an effort to ensure timely stabilization of sites, to protect downstream property owners and to prevent water pollution both during and after construction activities.
Erosion Control & Stormwater Managment Ordinance (pdf)

Ordinance Administration in Washington County

The following table lists the applicable ECSM ordinance and its administering authority for each of the unincorporated municipalities in Washington County.


Ordinance or Codification Number


Addison Town Code Chapter 190 LWCD
Barton Chapter 17 - County Code LWCD
Erin Chapter 17 - County Code LWCD
Farmington 1-2001 of Town Code Chapter 25 LWCD
Germantown Chapter 17 - County Code LWCD
Hartford Chapter 17 - County Code LWCD
Jackson Town Code Section 9 Town
Kewaskum Town Code Chapter 19 Town
Polk Town Code Section 19 LWCD
Trenton Town Code Chapter 200 LWCD
Wayne Town Ordinance W-99-6 Town
West Bend Town Ordinance 2016-02 LWCD

Each town was presented with the following three options for administration; the town adopts model ordinance and administers it themselves, the town adopts model ordinance and contracts with the LWCD for administrative services, or the County Ordinance is enforced in the town.

Model Intergovernmental Agreement (pdf)