Those low fences of plastic sheeting you see at many construction sites are called silt fences. These and other erosion control barriers and methods help prevent soil from washing off construction sites. Silt fences can be fairly effective in preventing soil loss — but only if they are maintained. Construction activities and heavy rainfalls frequently knock them down and then they are useless unless repaired.
Compost berms are highly effective in preventing erosion and the resulting sedimentation in our waterways. Compost berms have additional benefits. They slow the water and allow it to filter through while trapping the sediments and other contaminants.
Temporary seeding and mulching is an important erosion control to use when construction activities have disturbed large areas of ground. Limiting the amount of grading to the actual area under construction is another practice that can minimize erosion problems.
Sedimentation in our waterways is a very significant source of water quality impairment. We all need to help in the efforts to reduce this problem by notifying our city and/or county officials when we see silt fences that need maintenance or a construction site that has failed to use an erosion control barrier. Let’s all work together for quality water.