As a leader in the construction industry, you face the ongoing challenge of mitigating erosion and ensuring compliance with local authorities while protecting your infrastructure, waterways, and natural ecosystems. The impact of sediment runoff and erosion can have significant consequences, jeopardizing your project and the well-being of the surrounding environment.
Soil stabilization plays an important role in managing erosion. The implementation of the proper soil stabilization methods can be critical in minimizing and ideally preventing erosion. Soil stabilization simply means the alteration or improvement of the properties of a soil to better control erosion, thereby preventing sediment runoff and most importantly, protecting our water quality.
There are several key variables to consider when applying soil stabilization methods. Each one will determine the effectiveness of a stabilization plan.
Soil Properties and Qualities
- Can the soil sustain vegetation? Is it susceptible to erosion? Does it permeate effectively?
- Sampling and testing the soil can be effective in determining its qualities.
- Visual inspection can also be useful. Silty soil will tend to retain water and subsequently contain more nutrients supporting vegetation growth, while sandy soil contains minimal organic content to support vegetation.
Weather and Seasonality
· Weather and the time of year can impact the outcome of specific stabilization methods. The success rate improves when implementing vegetation stabilization if you plant during the right time of year and under the correct conditions. Events such as heavy rainfall can have a negative effect and interfere with the application of vegetation seeding and some of the other stabilization methods. Planning around the proper seasons and monitoring the weather prior to starting are keys to successful application.
Duration of Stabilization Requirements
· The duration of the project is equally important in determining what is the best practice to use. A different approach would need to be taken for locations sitting idle for 2 or 3 weeks vs. locations that will be idle for 6 to 8 months.
· Erosion control blankets can provide successful and timely results for large-scale, short-term stabilization and are effective for areas that require higher flow rates and steeper slopes. Blankets can be a more expensive option, but necessary depending on the specific conditions. Vegetation can be a better long-term and more environmentally-friendly solution.
Specific Project Requirements
· Each project has its own unique challenges and needs. Understanding the local regulations regarding permitting will help ensure that you are compliant and using the best stabilization method.
· What is acceptable or unacceptable can vary greatly between locations. The specific project may have a unique set of requirements for managing sediment. Familiarize yourself with the local regulations and project requirements before deciding on a specific method.
Consider these five approaches on your project:
· Vegetation: Hydro-Seeding, Planting grasses, shrubs, or trees.
· Horizontal Surface Roughening: Tracking, Stair-Step Grading, Ripping & Grooving
· Mulching: Use of organic material, like Hydro-Mulch or straw over exposed soil.
· Bonded Fiber Matrices: Use of long fibers, like wood or straw along with a tackifier to adhere better to the soil.
· Turf Reinforcement Mats / Blankets: Heavy, high strength, geosynthetic material best suited for long term applications.
Effective soil stabilization needs different approaches according to a range of variables. Paying careful attention to soil properties, weather and seasonality, the duration of stabilization, and the project’s requirements can help ensure success.
If all of this makes your head spin, DON’T WORRY! SWIMS is your trusted resource for proper soil stabilization implementation. Contact SWIMS and we will guide you through this process.