Soil erosion is the process of detachment and transportation of soil materials by water, wind, ice, and gravity. Erosion problems associated with construction activities include water pollution, flooding, stream channel damage, decreased groundwater storage, slope failures, damage to adjacent and/or downstream properties, and the time and costs associated with addressing these issues. Successful minimization of these impacts can be achieved by implementing erosion and sediment control (ESC) measures on construction sites to prevent soil movement/loss in the first place, enhance project aesthetics, reduce complaints, and most importantly, eliminate appreciable damage to off-site receiving channels, property, and natural resources. - Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)
Virginia Tech, along with contractors and university personnel, strives to eliminate the discharge of pollutants to Stroubles Creek from land-disturbing activities by implementing various types of control measures on construction projects. Erosion and sediment control measures are implemented to reduce the amount of sediment leaving the construction site. Other control measures, such as concrete washout facilities, are also implemented to prevent other types of pollutants from leaving the site or leaching into groundwater.
The Facilities Department's Site and Infrastructure Development office performs routine construction site inspections to verify that all erosion and sediment control measures are in place and functioning properly. Responsibility for compliance with applicable laws and regulations involving land-disturbing activities is given to the project manager and the person performing the land-disturbing activity. Projects that fail to comply with the laws and regulations may result in a stop work order and/or other penalties.
Can you identify any of these control measures from our construction projects on campus?
Without a stabilized construction entrance, sediment can easily be tracked onto roadways by tires on motor vehicles and construction equipment. The sediment can eventually wash into a nearby storm drain system and over time impair local waterways.
Silt fence is a temporary sediment barrier that is used to intercept and detain small amounts of sediment from disturbed areas during construction operations in order to prevent sediment from leaving the site.
Matting or mulching is applied to the soil surface to prevent erosion by protecting the soil surface from raindrop impact and reducing the velocity of overland flow. This control measure also fosters growth of vegetation by increasing available moisture and providing insulation against extreme heat and cold.
Storm Drain Inlet Protection
Storm drain inlet protection filters sediment from discharges of stormwater to minimize the amount of sediment entering storm drainage systems prior to permanent stabilization of disturbed areas.
A concrete washout provides a designated location to clean trucks, tools, etc. so any excess concrete can be gathered in a central location and be properly disposed. This minimizes diluted concrete wash from leeching into the ground or running off into nearby storm drains.
For More Information
Construction specifications for installation standards and maintenance requirements for each of these basic control measures, as well as other measures can be found in the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook.