Recently in this space, we discussed some of the common types and causes of soil erosion in various construction sites and similar areas. Erosion control is one key part of overall stormwater pollution prevention, and knowing how it's caused and how to prevent it plays a major role here.

At Silver Leaf SWPPP, we offer numerous SWPPP services to clients around Utah, ranging from SWPPP inspections and documentation to risk management programs, street sweeping services and more. Here are some basics on some indicators that might showcase the presence of erosion taking place around your construction site, plus how SWPPP setups look to prevent and manage erosion issues.

Possible Indicators of Damaging Erosion on Construction Sites

When erosion is beginning to take place in many areas of construction sites, some typical indicators are often present that will signal site operators to their presence. These include:

  • Major buildups of soil: If you notice soil that is accumulating in certain areas in an unnatural way, or beyond normal land grading/drainage, then this could signal a problem with erosion. For instance, you may begin to see major buildups of soil around silt fencing, retaining walls, or other erosion control measures.
  • Changes in water flow: When you look at the surface flow of water on your construction site, is it being redirected in unexpected ways? Do you notice channels forming where they weren't present before, or similar changes? This could also be a sign that erosion and sedimentation are taking place.
  • Sinkhole formation: If sinkholes are beginning to form on your site, this is a major sign that erosion has become a problem. Sinkholes can be created when water collects in some areas, begins to erode away material, and then reaches an area where nothing can be held back anymore. They are serious issues that have to be taken care of as soon as possible.
  • Formation of major rills or gullies: When erosion reaches a certain level, you might also notice major “rills” or gullies forming in the soil surface. These are channels that can be several inches-wide and should not occur naturally on your construction site.
  • Opaque water: If you begin to see opaque water on your site, this is likely due to an effect called turbidity. This turbidity is caused by particles of sediment being stirred up when water moves across a site, which can be a sign that erosion has become an issue.
  • Washout: Whether from previous attempts at erosion control or inadequate measures, washout is an issue where soils are completely washed away in certain areas. This is also a sign that erosion has become a prominent issue on the site and immediate action needs to be taken.

Erosion Control is a Key Part of SWPPP

Luckily, all of these issues with erosion can be addressed by implementing a strong stormwater pollution prevention plan. A SWPPP will identify the potential hazards present on your site that could lead to erosion, and then provide materials and mitigation measures that should be taken to control those hazards.

Our next section will go over many of the top approaches taken to achieve this.

Preventing and Controlling Erosion on Sites

Here are some key solutions to preventing and controlling erosion:

  • Proper ground cover: Keeping an adequate amount of vegetation and ground cover on your site can help to absorb water and prevent it from collecting in certain areas, leading to erosion. In many cases, these forms of cover will be man-made - things like silt fences, barriers and more. By properly maintaining these, you can reduce potential for water accumulation and erosion.
  • Reducing runoff: Reducing the amount of runoff that occurs on sites is another key measure, as this limits the amount of water that can even lead to erosion in the first place. This might include installing measures like permeable pavement or other green infrastructure solutions.
  • Stabilizing soil: Another common approach is to help stabilize the soil at a site, especially in areas where erosion might be occurring. This can include things like adding organic matter or planting grasses and other vegetation.
  • Reducing slopes: If you have steeply sloped land on your construction site, this can often lead to major issues with runoff and erosion. By reducing these slopes, you can help to reduce the potential for water to accumulate and wash away soil.
  • Installing a buffer zone: Both to manage current erosion and prevent future problems, installing a buffer zone around the site can be helpful. This might include sediment traps or other measures that will reduce and manage runoff from leaving the property.

By taking these steps, you should be able to greatly reduce any issues with erosion on your construction site and prevent major stormwater pollution incidents in the future.

And at Silver Leaf SWPPP, we can help you with all your erosion prevention and stormwater pollution prevention needs for any site in Utah. Contact us today to learn more about how our services can help keep your construction project on track!

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