How many engineers does it take to prepare an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan?

How many engineers does it take to prepare an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan?

How many engineers does it take to write an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan (ESCP)?

Of course it’s a trick question….just one…(though many may say I missed the “n” at the start of that number!)

  • One engineer?
  • One good engineer?
  • One good engineer skilled in drainage/hydraulics?
  • One good engineer skilled in drainage/hydraulics and scour protection?
  • One good engineer skilled in drainage/hydraulics and scour protection WITH FRIENDS!

Stay with me here….yes we do have friends!

Not Joey, Ross, Rachel, Chandler and the other two……

But friends who have skills in soil management, re-vegetation and rehabilitation…skills that very few engineers have…you can’t be good at everything (especially modesty!).


It takes at least 3 professions to prepare a GOOD erosion and sediment control plan….

More if you count the actual contractors who will assist in providing valuable information on the construction staging, construction methodology etc. The three professions are:


  1. Soil Scientist aka soil nerd to assess the type of soil, it’s characteristics e.g. is it dispersive, acidic, infertile, topsoil, sub soil, how should it be treated, buried or left alone.
  2. Engineer aka water nerd to assess water flow paths, flow velocities, basin volumes/dimensions, spillways, outlet structures, and scour protection.
  3. Environmental Scientist aka tree hugger to advise on effective groundcovers to prevent erosion, what species, what density, how quickly they can establish, do they need protective coverings until they can become established.


This is the bare minimum of skills needed to prepare a GOOD ESCP.


Then of course there are the people who need to construct, operate and maintain the treatment measures.

Don’t forget the supporting professionals who audit on-site works and provide advice to achieve best practice, or take samples, test and interpret results.

Add in the suppliers who provide everything from grass seeds, to sediment fences to chemical coagulants and flocculants and provide advice on which product may work best in certain situations.

Finally you need Local Government and State Government officers who need to check compliance with the relevant planning conditions and legislation.


Lots of FRIENDS!


Sing with me “♪♬ I’ll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour. I’ll be there for you, like I’ve been there before…♫♪”

The bottom line is that it takes 7-8 people/skill sets to prepare a good ESCP and ensure good outcomes on-site.


Plus GOOD data!

We can be conservative but that will result in extra treatment, oversized measures or the wrong measures.

While engineers are great at solving problems and like to turn their hands at most things we can’t do everything alone… just because you are able to prepare one by yourself it doesn’t mean you should.

Engineers are only one part of the puzzle and most likely will need to work with, “friends” wth a particular skill set.

Friends like Liam Neeson from the “TAKEN” movies….


“I have a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you  let my daughter go now look after my soil, that will be the end of it – I will not look for you, I will not pursue you… but if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you… and I will  kill you PIN you…”

So if you want a GOOD ESCP enlist the help of your friendly neighbourhood engineer but remember we need friends to take it from average (at best) to good (to hopefully great!).

“Individually we are one drop. Together we are an ocean ~ Ryunosuke Satoro”

Author: Bill Johnson

Director Strategic Environmental and Engineering Consulting