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Reducing Erosion and Runoff on Construction Sites Part 4

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Excessive erosion on your construction site can lead to harmful runoff. Construction site runoff can result in severe consequences, especially if you allow runoff to reach privately owned areas. Certainly, the cost of litigation is a great motivator for limiting runoff on your project site, but if the issue becomes too serious, you could find yourself facing off with the federal government in a court of law.

In parts one, two, and three of this four-part article, our Nashville construction attorneys have thoroughly explored the topic of construction site erosion and runoff, and more particularly, how to effectively reduce it to maintain profitability while supporting more sustainable construction practices. Now, we will discuss more strategies that can help you reduce erosion and runoff on your construction sites.

Meet With Your Local Building Department

Your local city council is familiar with the dangers of construction runoff, so they have likely established specific ordinances to help control this important issue. Depending on the climate profile of your region, these ordinances are designed to help contractors contend with inclement weather and unruly weather patterns. In most cases, erosion and runoff control measures are prescribed between specific calendar dates that have the highest likelihood of creating runoff. Even if it doesn’t rain or snow, your construction site will be protected.

Detect Drainage Patterns on the Project Site

Observing your project site during inclement weather, or in the immediate wake of a storm, allows you to get a firsthand perspective on how runoff will affect your processes moving forward. If you don’t have the opportunity to perform a direct inspection, you can scout for rivulets, seasonal stream beds, or recent sand and gravel deposits for affirmation of runoff.

Cover Exposed Soil

To minimize soil exposure, limit the amount of vegetation you remove from the project site during construction; utilize fast-growing, native ground cover to cover soil; and most importantly, cover exposed soil with two to four inches of straw. Vegetation helps reinforce soil while simultaneously slowing the velocity of runoff flow.

Utilize Additional Sediment Control Methods

If you are unable to completely eliminate runoff from your project site, you can utilize additional sediment control methods to offset excess water including:

  • Applying straw rolls on slopes, the base of slopes, in trenches, and near drainage apparatus. Try to utilize the land’s contour as a guide for placing straw rolls securely.
  • You can install silt fences that trap sediment at the bottom of slopes.
  • Protecting drain inlets with gravel bags.
  • By using rock entrances and roads, you can minimize the disruption of exposed soils. Also, large pieces of rock or concrete can be implemented as “energy dissipators” to impede the outlet of runoff from pipes and other conduits and channels.

If you would like to speak with a Nashville construction attorney, please contact us today.

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.