Any type of construction project means big changes to the site. However, not all of them are good or even desired. No matter what kind of work you’re doing, it’s important to be aware of how your activities may be impacting the surrounding environment. Nails, screws and scraps of building materials may be left. Natural habitats for wildlife could be disturbed or relocated. Heavy equipment and changes to site elevation can result in soil erosion.
Eroded soil might be one of the most damaging after-effects of construction activity. That’s because eroded soil can lead to contaminated water sources as well as lasting harm to nearby ecosystems.
Although cleaning after a project is completed is crucial, it’s also necessary for crews to be mindful of how their work may be affecting the area as they build. This is why builders need to be prepared and incorporate erosion control methods into their operations — if they don’t do so already.
Fortunately, there are numerous techniques that can serve to protect soils from being eroded, depending on the situation.
Understanding Erosion Control Methods
For crews wanting to minimize the effects they have on their sites, there are a wide range of procedures to employ that could make a difference.
Here are some of the most common:
- Access mats: Built from hardwood timbers, access mats are used to create temporary roadways and staging pads for trucks, cranes and other heavy equipment. They typically are used in areas where there is wet, soft ground because they help distribute the weight of machinery more evenly, preventing soil from being disturbed too much.
- Articulated concrete blocks: These are used most frequently along waterways and drainage channels. Articulated concrete blocks fit with interlocking joints that allow them to conform to the natural shape and slope of embankments. They serve to hold dirt in place even as force is applied to it, keeping dirt from being washed away by rivers and streams.
- Mechanically stabilized earth walls: Made from precast concrete panels filled with granular soil, these are relatively easy to install and work well in retaining soil on steep slopes. These qualities have made this technique increasingly popular over the years.
- Turbidity barriers: Consisting of geotextile membranes floating on the surface next to the banks of a body of water, turbidity barriers serve two purposes: Not only do they prevent soil from contaminating the water, but they also serve to hold the banks together, so they are not changed by activity.
- Soil nails: These are steel bars that are driven into the ground and capped with facings that look like retaining walls. Soil nails serve to provide a resisting force against slope failures, keeping slopes held while work continues above them.
Building a new home, highway or anything else can be an improvement over a vacant lot, but not all of a construction project’s results are positive. For more information about soil erosion prevention practices and how they work, take a look at the accompanying resource.
Courtesy Of Yak Mat, a mat company