In this four-part series, our Nashville construction litigation attorneys have been discussing erosion and runoff on construction sites. Now that you have read parts one and two, and understand why erosion and runoff are such an important consideration for contractors, it’s time to discuss how you can control erosion on your project sites before we conclude this topic in part four.
Every contractor should be familiar with the six basic principles of erosion control. By reducing erosion on your project site, you can effectively eliminate runoff and avoid costly litigation.
Mitigate Erosive Forces and Employ Resistive Forces
Isaac Newton’s third law of motion states that “for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction.” While the structural integrity of a physical object will defend it from being destroyed immediately, you need to train your team to work as a resistive force for diminishing erosion on your project site. By reducing the power of water and wind and implementing techniques that capably resist erosion, you can spearhead an effective erosion control program.
Implement Sediment Control
Preventing erosion is more cost-effective than removing sediment after the fact. If you wait until runoff has already reached a collection point, you will be responsible for traveling to the site and paying for the equipment and manpower necessary to conduct a complete sediment removal.
You can alter the topography of your project site to reduce runoff. For example, short, shallow slopes erode more slowly than steep slopes. Also, they permit the use of erosion-preventative vegetation which can lay roots more easily on shallow slopes.
Reduce Soil Exposure
If you can restrict the amount of wind and water exposure the soil on your project site receives, you can greatly limit erosion. By planning ahead, you can schedule disruptive activities during the dry season where the presence of water and wind are less of an issue. Another effective strategy is diverting water to parts of the site where soil isn’t exposed.
Limit Runoff Velocity
The purpose of limiting runoff velocity is to impede the path of runoff so it can’t effectively spread to areas outside of your project site. You can achieve this by increasing the level of surface roughness on your project site. Specialized grading and rock dams are two ways you can limit runoff velocity. However, rock dams are ill-suited for steep slopes.
Inspect Your Project Site and Perform Repairs
Once you have your erosion prevention controls in place, you must inspect them regularly to ensure their efficacy throughout your project timeline. As a rule of thumb, inspect these controls within 24 hours of inclement weather, every week during active construction, and every two weeks during periods of suspended activity.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.