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Erosion First

Most construction sites seem to focus on installing huge sediment basins and miles of silt fences, but allow whole hillsides of material to remain at the mercy of the wind and the rain.

The simple fact is that controlling the very erosion that can cause the sedimentation in the first place is more than half the battle if you bother to follow some simple guidelines.

Capture7-26-2008-8.43.11 PM

  1. The majority of construction site erosion comes from sheet flow
  2. Gullies (at the bottom of the picture above) can transport more than ten times more soil than sheet flow.
  3. Splashing from raindrops is a major contributor to erosion
  4. Soil covered by vegetation is the least susceptible to the effects of erosion.
  5. Mulch is effective in reducing erosion, as is roughing the soil material, however this may increase the wind erosion potential.

Once you’ve got the erosion sorted out, then you can worry about the fact that the particles are being transported, and use best practices to detain and or filter sediment from water.

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More about that soon.

Picture from the Kentucky Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control Field Guide

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.