Effects of Construction On Erosion
Any new development or job site can lead to significantly increased erosion rates, which can have a multitude of negative effects on the environment and the surrounding community.
Not only can erosion from construction lead to slopes and embankments becoming unstable, but it can also result in:
- Destroyed ecosystems
- Degraded water supplies
- Increased flood hazards
- Many more complications
On-Site Impacts Of Erosion
The loss of topsoil, either through removal with heavy equipment or erosion from wind and water, can lead to major issues. This layer of soil has the highest biological activity, organic matter, and plant nutrients — all key components of healthy soil. The onsite loss of this upper layer of soil nearly eliminates the soil’s natural ability to provide nutrients, regulate water flow, and combat pests and disease.
Off-Site Impacts Of Erosion
Erosion from construction sites has off-site environmental and economic impacts. Erosion creates two major water quality problems in surface waters and drainage ways: excess nutrients and excess sediment. These problems adversely impact the health and biological diversity of water bodies.
For these reasons, erosion control plays a major part in site preparation and construction management in order to keep compliant with environmental regulations along with preserve the state of the surrounding ecosystem and community.
Here at Concrete Washout Solutions — makers of the revolutionary concrete washout system — we have decades of experience in the construction industry, and we’ve learned over the years the importance of balancing developmental scheduling with environmental impact concerns. That’s why we want to provide our fellow contractors with insight for how they can go about improving their erosion control processes — from concrete washout to stormwater and everything in between.
So, if you’re a residential or commercial contractor, keep reading to learn how you can best prep your job sites for proper erosion control.
Four Elements Of Proper Erosion Control
Erosion Control Measures
Your primary course of action is to keep the soil on your site in place. In order to do that, you need to limit vegetation removal when possible. You can also try to cover bare soils by seeding and covering with straw. Additional provisions are necessary when working in a sensitive habitat, or on a steep slope. Erosion control blankets are typically best applied on steep slopes and can be used to cover the soil after seeding has taken place.
Sediment Control Measures
Think of sediment control as a back-up, or secondary defense, to erosion control. Should the erosion control measures fail, sediment control measures are designed to capture eroding soil and keep it on site. This can be done be using straw rolls on slopes or at the bottom of slopes. Or, silt fences can be placed at the bottom of slopes, provided they don’t impact drainage. Gravel bags, particularly around drainage inlets are also commonly used. Finally, rocked driveways and entrances prevent soil and sediment from being tracked onto adjacent roads. Remember, none of these methods are meant to initially stop erosion from occuring — only control it. They capture soil that has eluded erosion control measures before it can cause any damage.
Runoff Control Measures
The primary enemy in erosion control is water. That means controlling stormwater, and keeping it away from bare soils, is essential to preventing soil erosion. Your first option will be to find a vegetated area that can withstand increased runoff. This can be done by diverting the runoff from any bare soils and newly disturbed areas. When dealing with a large concentration of water, it’s unwise to concentrate all of your runoff to one area.
Find multiple locations for drainage and ensure your development won’t cause additional erosion after construction is completed. It’s also important to avoid fill slopes in favor of cut slopes for drainage. If that’s impossible, try breaking up drainage in order to create sheet flows over the slope. If you’re implementing pipe, conduits or channels for runoff, be sure to install energy dissipators such as a collection of rocks, which reduces flow velocity and helps prevent scour and downstream erosion.
While there is now a tried-and-true method to concrete waste disposal and containing concrete washout, there is not a steadfast method to total erosion control. Therefore, it’s important to routinely check on the erosion control methods you’ve put in place, particularly after it rains. Inspect each area to determine if any are in need of reinforcement and keep silt fencing clear of any build up so that it doesn’t give way.
We hope that this information helps you to better discern the importance of proper erosion control along how you can improve your process to successfully keep compliant with regulations — keeping your job sites running smoothly. If you need a solution for your washout pollution, give us a call at Concrete Washout Solutions today. We proudly provide our concrete washout systems and services to commercial and residential job sites in New Jersey, the Philadelphia metro area, and beyond.