FAQs: Before You Dig


When do I need a county permit to dig up dirt, dump fill dirt or clear land?

A site permit and grading plan are required for any land disturbance of 2,500 square feet or greater. Additionally, a conservation deposit will be required. For more information, contact Site Permits at 703-324-1510, TTY 711.


What types of projects constitute a 2,500-square-foot land disturbance?

Typical projects that may disturb 2,500 square feet of land may include a building addition to a residential home, a large garage or carport, the installation of a paved driveway, or the construction of an in-ground swimming pool.


What types of projects do not necessarily require a site permit or grading plan?

Homeowners do not need to obtain a site permit or a grading plan when land disturbance is below 2,500 square feet, such as gardening or landscaping, installing a fence, post or sign (although a building permit may be required), or digging for individual sewer or water connections. They are, however, required to coordinate with Miss Utility any time they perform digging operations.


How can I tell if my neighbor is performing illegal land disturbance?

There may be illegal land disturbance happening if you notice:

- The activity occurs between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on the weekends;
- There is no company name on the construction vehicles or equipment;
- The land is being cleared without surveyor's flagging on trees; or
- There is no stone and gravel construction entrance next to the main entrance road.


What should I do if I notice potentially illegal digging, filling or clearing?

Call the Department of Code Compliance at 703-324-1300, TTY 711, when you first notice any signs of suspicious activity. Never challenge the property owner or construction company, as they may have a permit and be acting legally. Never trespass onto private property. Always gather as much information as possible, such as dates and times of activity, names and phone numbers from trucks and vehicles, and photos of the disturbance, if possible.

More information is available in Reporting Land Development Concerns.


More questions?

Get answers to this and other frequently asked questions about land disturbance in Before You Dig.... Get the Dirt on the Do's and Don'ts of Land Disturbance in Fairfax County, or contact Site Permits at 703-324-1510, TTY 711.


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