1. Where can I get my soil tested?

Soil testing kits may be purchased from your local Rutgers Cooperative Extension county office. Kits range in price from $15 to $60 and include an information sheet, a questionnaire and a mailing bag or envelope. For more information in Mercer County, contact the Mercer County Rutgers Cooperative Extension Office at (609) 989-6830 or call the Rutgers Soil Testing Laboratory at (732) 932-9295. Further information and instructions may also be downloaded from the Rutgers website at http://njaes.rutgers.edu/soiltestinglab/kits.asp

2. Who needs a certified Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Plan?

The Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act of 1976 stipulates that any project proposing more than 5,000 square feet of soil disturbance must have a Soil Erosion and Sediment Control (SESC) Plan certified by the local District to ensure that the project meets the Standards for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control in New Jersey. Most single-family residences have previously been exempt from obtaining a certified SESC Plan, however, new rules effective Janurary 3, 2006, do require that a certified SESC Plan be obtained for single-family dwellings, the construction of which would disturb greater than 5,000 square feet on a lot that has arisen from, or is part of, a subdivision comprising of two or more single-family dwelling lots. A SESC would also be required for single-family dwellings if they are also associated with demolition or off-site improvements. Agricultural activities such as plowing or tilling, are exempt from this regulation.

3. How can I get a copy of the Mercer County Soil Survey?

The Mercer County Soil Survey is now available online, free of charge, from the Natural Resources Conservation Service Web Soil Survey at http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/.

4. How can I get a copy of the most recent standards for SE & SC in New Jersey?

Adopted in January 2014 and effective February 20, 2014, the revised Standards for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control in New Jersey are available at no charge, in PDF format through the NJ Department of Agriculture website. Paper copies are no longer available through our District office.

For more information, and to download the 2014 Standards for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control in New Jersey, please visit:

5) Do I need an RFA?

The Federal Clean Water Act and rules adopted by the US Environmental Protection Agency require a permit for stormwater discharges associated with construction activities that cause one acre or more of soil disturbance, or propose greater than 1/4 acre of new impervious surface. The Stormwater Construction Permit program has switched to an online submission process for the Requests for Authorization (RFA).

Applicants are now required to submit their Stormwater RFA applications and payments via the NJDEP's website. Information, instructions and applications may be accessed at http://www.nj.gov/dep/stormwater/ or contact the NJDEP Bureau of Nonpoint Pollution Control at 609-633-7021 with questions.

RFA applicants will need to verify that they have a certified Soil Erosion and Sediment Control plan to complete their online RFA e-permitting process. At the time your Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Plan is certified by the local Soil Conservation District, the District will provide the owner with the required SCD Certification Code and 251 Identification Code to allow filing the RFA online.

6) How long will it take to get my Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Plan certified?

The time it takes to certify a plan depends on a number of factors. Once our office receives the complete application package, you will receive a response in the form of a review letter or a denial within 30 days. If no revisions are required, the plan will be recommended for certification at the next scheduled Board meeting (generally held on the first Tuesday of every month). By statute, The District has the option to extend the review period for an additional 30 days upon written agreement of the owner or their authorized agent.

It is vital to understand that the District cannot fulfill review requests or meet time schedules that are outside our purview. Once plans are submitted, they will be reviewed within 30 days, in the order received. Some plans require several cycles of revision and review. To avoid any delays, plan in advance. PROPER PLANNING IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

7. How do I apply?

Before the certification process can begin, the following items must be received at the District office:
i. A completed Application Form signed by the owner of the project.
ii. The appropriate fee, as determined from the Fee Schedule. Application fee checks made payable to the MCSCD. RFA checks made payable to the Treasurer of the State of New Jersey.
iii. One (1) complete set of plans with the signature and raised seal of a New Jersey licensed Professional Engineer. Small projects not requiring drainage work may be sealed by a licensed Architect.
iv. Five (5) copies of the signed and sealed Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Plans.
v. Pre- and Post-developed drainage area maps.
vi. One (1) copy of appropriate drainage calculations or stormwater management report.
vii. Appropriate drainage structure designs.
viii. Completed Basin Database Summary Form, if applicable.
ix. Completed Request for Authorization (RFA), if applicable.

See Page 2 of the Application Form for a list of additional items to be included on the Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Plan.

Plans and details should be prepared in accordance with the Standards for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control in New Jersey, 2014 edition. Several typical details are available online, see the link for Details and Notes.

All plans should include the Mercer County SCD Required Notes.

To be considered for certification all revisions must be received, reviewed and deemed complete by the Friday prior to the District Meeting (generally held on the first Tuesday of each month).

Frequently Asked Questions