Issue Profile: Voluntary Contractor Certification Program

date: August 2004          contact: Bill Laflamme (207) 215-9237

Background

Due to the high rate of erosion that occurs at areas disturbed by construction, the use of effective erosion control practices is critical to protecting the quality of Maine waters. DEP has developed a non-regulatory, incentive-driven program to broaden the use of effective erosion control techniques. The Voluntary Contractor Certification Program (VCCP) is coordinated by DEP's Nonpoint Source Training and Resource Center .

Purpose

Primary: To prevent nonpoint source pollution from construction activity by creating an incentive for Maine contractors to become educated on best management practices for erosion and sedimentation control. Secondary: To recognize contractors who make an effort to educate themselves on erosion control practices and to provide an incentive for contractors to continue education efforts on erosion control practices.

Program

The VCCP is open to any individual who is involved with soil disturbance activity including filling, excavation, landscaping, and other earthwork. For initial certification, the program will require attendance at one 8-hour training course and the successful completion of a construction site evaluation. Construction site evaluations will be completed during the construction season by local soil and water conservation district personnel. Certifications are valid until December 31 st , of the third year after issuance. To maintain certification, a minimum of one 4-hour continuing education course within every three-year period thereafter will be required.

Benefits

Certification will entitle the holder to forgo the 14-day waiting period for Stream Crossing Projects under the Department's Permit-by-Rule program. It will also allow the holder to certify erosion control plans under the MPDES Construction Activity General Permit. Certification enables a contractor to advertise as a DEP Certified Contractor, and the Department maintains a list of certified contractors that is posted on the DEP web site. This list is available for distribution to the general public, state agencies and other interested persons. All certified individuals can also obtain any publication from the Nonpoint Source Training and Resource Center Library at no charge and are eligible for discounts from four suppliers of erosion control products.

Training Courses

Certification and continuing education courses will be offered on an annual basis at several locations throughout the state. More information on training course dates and locations can be obtained from the DEP's Nonpoint Source Training and Resource Center at 287-7726.

Certification Revocation

Under certain circumstances, certification can be revoked. Revocation is likely if a formal enforcement action is taken against a certified contractor whose failure to employ satisfactory erosion and sediment control practices results in sedimentation of waterbodies or wetlands. NOTE: Certification would not be revoked as a result of sedimentation resulting from unusual storm events, flooding or other conditions beyond the control of the contractor.

DEPLW50B2004