DEP Announces Schedule to Certify Contractors to Work In Shoreland Zone By 2013 Deadline

January 10, 2012

CONTACT:
Samantha DePoy-Warren, Maine DEP Director of Communications & Education samantha.depoy-warren@maine.gov / (207) 287-5842 Bill Laflamme, Maine DEP Nonpoint Source Training & Resource Center, william.n.laflamme@maine.gov / (207) 215-9237

-Contactors who disturb soil must be state certified if they want to work in the shoreland zone starting next year-

AUGUSTA – With just one year until contractors working in the shoreland zone must be state certified, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection is releasing a robust training roster to ensure all contractors who want to work will be able to do so.

Under legislation passed in 2008, as of Jan. 1, 2013, a person certified by the DEP in erosion control best practices must be on-site of any activity that disturbs more than one cubic yard of soil –including earth moving, logging or landscaping operations– in the shoreland zone until work is complete and the site stabilized. The shoreland zone is an area defined as within 250 feet of rivers, wetlands, lakes and the ocean and 75 feet of certain streams.

For companies with several sites being operated simultaneously, this means multiple employees –one for each job site– would need to be certified.

Certification is obtained by attending a daylong course offered by DEP and having a construction site evaluation by staff from one of Maine’s non-regulatory soil and water conservation districts. Recertification must be obtained every three years, and can be done by attending a continuing education course or through a DVD training and recertification quiz.

To ensure contractors who want to can continue to work after the deadline, the department has scheduled more than a dozen courses across the state from Frenchville to Kittery between January and May, with another stacked schedule for the fall currently being planned.

“Given the high rate of erosion that occurs at areas disturbed by construction, the use of effective erosion and sediment control practices is critical to protecting the quality of Maine waters,” explained DEP’s Bill Laflamme, who leads the trainings. “Maine’s contractors are our critical partners to providing important environmental protections and the department is extending every opportunity we can to ensure they are certified to keep working when the calendar changes over this time next year.”

In 2011, DEP certified nearly 300 people ensuring they can continue work in the shoreland zone in 2013, bringing the certified total to more than 1000 contractors and 1900 forestry operators.

Other benefits to those who obtain certification include being exempt from the 14-day waiting period for stream crossing projects under DEP’s Permit-by-Rule program; being able to advertise –including for free on DEP’s website – as a certified contractor; free publications and borrowing from DEP’s resource library; and receiving discounts at several suppliers of erosion control products in the state. Those who are certified also have higher compliance rates with state environmental regulations.

According to Dan Shaw of Shaw Bros. Construction and the Maine Aggregate Association, becoming certified is a win-win situation. “In addition to learning helpful information on erosion control practices, contractors are provided with discounts and accelerated permitting,” he said. “I urge all excavation contractors to get certified as it is a great way to be effective, stay competitive and add credibility to your company.”

For a complete schedule of contractor certification courses as well as other pollution prevention trainings offered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, visit http://www.maine.gov/dep/training or contact Bill Laflamme at (207) 215-9237 or william.n.laflamme@maine.gov.

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