One of the biggest challenges in working construction is that the land can be less than cooperative. Shaping the terrain to fit the specifications of your project often involves fighting the ground’s tendency to do its own thing. Although most of the time this can be overcome with a little muscle and the right tools, there are other situations in which you need to be a bit smarter.
For example, ignoring soil erosion can have serious, lasting consequences long after you and your crew leave the site. This is because soils that are carried away from a jobsite can contaminate nearby water sources, causing harm to the ecosystems that surround them. Soil erosion can be caused by several factors, not the least of which is the effect of heavy machinery forcing the ground to shift and move as it crosses the area.
Although it’s important to make sure you clean up after the work is done, there are several ways you can help prevent erosion while you’re on the job. There are multiple techniques and tools that builders can use to keep soil in place, depending on where you’re working and which type of equipment you’re using.
Options for Controlling Soil Erosion
If you’re concerned about minimizing the impact that your activities have on the soil where you build, there are numerous procedures that can make a big difference. What follows is a quick overview of some of the most common of tools and processes.
- Access Mats: These are typically made from hardwood timbers and are used to create temporary roadways and staging areas for heavy equipment, including trucks and cranes. These mats work best in areas where there is wet, soft earth because they allow the weight of machines to be distributed more evenly. This means the soil underneath is disturbed as little as possible.
- Articulated Concrete Blocks: Fitting together with interlocking joints, concrete blocks can conform to the natural shape and slope of embankments. This makes them a good choice for use along waterways and drainage channels. They help keep dirt from moving even after force is applied to it, and they can prevent soil from being washed into rivers or streams.
- Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls: With this technique, precast concrete panels are filled with granular soil. They are easier to install than other options and are useful for retaining soils on steep slopes.
- Turbidity Barriers: Geotextile membranes float on the surface of water along the banks of a lake or river. These hold the banks together while also collecting soil that would otherwise be deposited directly into the water.
- Soil Nails: This process involves driving steel bars into the ground and capping them with facings that resemble retaining walls. They provide a resisting force against slope failures.
Wrestling with nature is one of the most challenging aspects of construction, but you have several options that can give you more of a fighting chance. To learn more about soil erosion prevention methods and how they work, take a closer look at the accompanying resource.
Infographic created by Yak Mat