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5 Ways Developers Can Mitigate Erosion Risk on Construction Sites

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By Linda Williams

Erosion is a risk that plagues developers and builders in the Florida area and beyond. With proper planning, construction site personnel can mitigate this risk using erosion control solutions like these.

For those unfamiliar with common on-site hazards, construction and site preparation can stir soil erosion, resulting in water pollution from runoff and an overabundance of nutrients and sediment in nearby water systems. This influx of nitrogen in water results in eutrophication, which leads to overgrowth. At the same time, too much sediment in water causes turbidity, which makes the water cloudy.

Preventing erosion is much more cost-effective, not to mention more environmentally responsible, than letting the erosion occur. Today, state and local laws often require the mitigation of erosion in light of the Clean Water Act of 1992. To successfully adhere to the CWA’s provisions, developers must include detailed erosion and sediment control plans before construction projects can commence.

Erosion from construction sites can also wreak havoc on waterways and other developments. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has noted that erosion not only contributes to construction instability and a reduction of nutrients in the soil, but it is the largest nonpoint source of pollutants to the nation’s rivers and tributaries.

Developers can reduce the risk of erosion in construction projects with these five strategies. Putting them to work can reduce the risk of environmental decay, keeping developers in compliance with regulations.

Blankets

Covering sloped soil with a coir, straw, or excelsior blanket gives seeds a chance to take root to hold soil in place. These blankets can be either biodegradable for a short-term solution or designed to hold soil for a more extended period.

Mulch

Wood fiber, straw, or recycled paper as mulch are blended with seeds, fertilizer, or other planting aids to hold soil and prevent erosion. Mulch can be applied in one step or on top of seeds in a two-step process.

Tackifiers

Adhesives that glue mulch, blown straw, or dust to the soil’s surface, or tackifiers, can help prevent erosion on construction sites and developments. Tackifiers are chemicals made from both synthetic and natural materials and are best at preventing short-term soil erosion.

Wattles

Large cylindrical wattles of straw, excelsior, compost, or coir make erosion on sloped areas less likely by reducing the length of the slope, slowing water flow, holding sediment, and giving seeds a chance to germinate.

Turf reinforcement mats

Turf reinforcement mats, or TRMs, are ideal for long-term or permanent erosion mitigation in high-velocity water channels. TRMs also promote revegetation in these areas, which will limit erosion.

To wrap up

Preventing erosion in construction sites and developments in Apopka, Florida, and around the country is far less expensive than repairing the damage done. That said, responsible developers choose to mitigate erosion on their construction sites by fostering vegetation and adding erosion control products such as blankets, mulch, wattles, TRMs, and adhesives. That way, they can effectively slow water flow, hold sediment in place, and give plantings a chance to take root.

Erosion control products may add to construction costs but have benefits that far outweigh their initial price tag.

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