What Developers Need to Know About Erosion Risks

If you are a property developer, have you noted erosion on your construction site? Erosion is one of the challenges you may encounter when setting up a new project. It degrades construction sites which then begin to harm the surrounding environment.

Controlling erosion in construction sites is one problem that property developers encounter. Protecting the environment and soil from human activity is essential for a developer. Erosion control products are the best option.

So, what are the causes and types of erosion? How can you control erosion on a construction site? Continue reading to discover more.

Causes of erosion

Running water is the primary cause of erosion. During rainfall, running water sweeps away mineral-rich soil from one place to another. Such activities disturb the ground and move the vegetation, increasing soil erosion.

Another major cause of erosion is wind. During heavy winds, topsoil is carried away along with organic matter. Areas not covered with grass or plants, such as deserted areas, are more prone to erosion.

Construction works also disturb the soil making it more prone to erosion. Runoffs caused by construction activities and rain wash away the soil, killing vegetation. Vegetation is essential for root systems that hold back dirt and prevents decay. Grading the site displaces dirt with water and wind erosion.

Types of erosion

One common type of erosion that affects topsoil on construction sites is wind. Wind erosion is extreme in arid and drought-affected areas. Heavy winds, known as deflation, move soil particles from one area to another. This process can displace large amounts of soil. Large amounts of digging spots and dust are also displaced, causing erosion on the site.

Water erosion happens when a water source moves the soil from one area to another. If no water control systems exist, sediments move to nearby streams and rivers, and this sediment affects natural soil quality.

Other types of erosion include:

  • Sheet erosion
  • Gully erosion
  • Rill erosion
  • Streambank erosion

Effects of erosion from construction sites

Construction erosion has adverse effects on soil quality and environmental degradation. These effects include the following.

Reduced soil quality

Heavy construction equipment and erosion by wind lead to loss of topsoil. Topsoil consists of plant nutrients, organic matter, and other vital biological components. Once the top layer of the soil scoops, these components are also lost, reducing soil quality.

Water pollution

Extra sediment and nutrients caused by erosion affect the ecosystem in the water. Extra nutrients in water contain eutrophication which is destructive to the ecosystem.

Additionally, extra sediments cause turbidity, which makes water to be cloudy. Turbidity blocks sunlight into the water, hence damaging the vegetation growth. Further, turbidity reduces photosynthesis and oxygen levels in the water, which affects the habitat of plants and animals like fish.

Erosion also has severe effects on waterways. Eroded soil is deposited in sloppy lands in the form of sediment traps and contour banks. This leads to siltation of water storage, watercourses, and reduced water quality.

Controlling erosion in construction sites

Minimizing erosion is one way of protecting your projects as a property manager. These practices help to control erosion and protect your construction projects.

Sediment and water control

Silt fencing, filter socks, and straw wattles are methods you can use to control sediments. Further, controlling running water prevents wiping away the topsoil. Using aqua barriers is vital if your construction site is near a water body. Aqua barriers prevent water from passing through the construction site, protecting the topsoil.

Installing turbidity barriers

Turbidity barriers help to keep away contaminants from water sources. They contain a floating boom and a heavy galvanized chain that seals into a hem with the curtain length.

Using french drains

French drains have underground piping systems that channel groundwater to exit points. These drains allow water to pass beneath the soil as excess water passes through the exit points.

Other measures you might consider to control erosion in construction sites include:

  • Use of articulated concrete blocks
  • Geotextiles
  • Soil nails

Before you go

Erosion can be a headache on every construction site and can cause severe damage to your project. Thus, adapting to effective measures is essential to help you control erosion risks.

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