Sediment and Erosion Control on Construction Sites
Soil erosion is the process of detachment and transportation of soil materials by water, wind, ice and gravity. While “geologic” erosion naturally produces about 30 percent of the total sediment in the United States, “accelerated” soil erosion from man’s use of land accounts for the remaining 70 percent. Surface mining, forestry, agriculture and construction are the major activities that cause accelerated erosion. Although construction by volume does not cause most sediment pollution, it is the most evident and damaging because of the rate at which it occurs. Erosion associated with construction activities can be 200 times greater than that from cropland and 2,000 times greater than that naturally occurring in woodlands.
When natural landscape is converted to accommodate houses, subdivisions, shopping centers, and roads in rural areas, or development and redevelopment within cities and towns, these land use conversions are collectively referred to as urbanization. Water-generated accelerated erosion is unquestionably the most severe erosion in areas undergoing urbanization.
Erosion problems associated with construction activities include water pollution, flooding, stream channel damage, decreased groundwater storage, slope failures, damage to adjacent and/or downstream properties, and the time and costs associated with addressing these issues. Successful minimization of these impacts can be achieved by implementing erosion and sediment control (ESC) measures on construction sites to prevent soil movement/loss in the first place, enhance project aesthetics, reduce complaints, and most importantly, eliminate appreciable damage to off-site receiving channels, property and natural resources.
The City of Willoughby implements an ESC regulation that establishes a technically feasible and economically reasonable standards to achieve a level of erosion and sediment control that will minimize damage to property and degradation of water resources and wetlands, and will promote and maintain the health and safety of the citizens in the community. The regulation allows development, while minimizing increases in erosion and sedimentation, and reduce water quality impacts to receiving water resources and wetlands that may be caused by new development or redevelopment activities.
The regulation apply to all parcels being whole or partially developed for industrial, commercial, institutional, or residential projects; building activities on farms; redevelopment activities; general clearing; and all other uses that are not specifically exempted in the model regulation. The regulation details requirements for stormwater pollution prevention plans, performance standards for best management practices, and inspection and maintenance requirements.