5 Easy Fixes for Onsite Erosion Control

Disturbing as little soil as possible during an installation is a no-brainer. But normal soil erosion can cause headaches. Learn what you can do to reduce major water flow.
5 Easy Fixes for Onsite Erosion Control
Even if the site is small enough not to warrant a land disturbance permit, it becomes the installer’s responsibility to control soil erosion and stormwater runoff.

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Soil erosion has been identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the number one source of water-quality degradation/pollution. It becomes everyone’s responsibility to reduce soil erosion and sedimentation loss from onsite installation sites. 

Even if the site is small enough not to warrant a land disturbance permit, it becomes the installer’s responsibility to control soil erosion and stormwater runoff. 

Of course, try to disturb as little soil as possible during any type of construction. However, once the soil is disturbed, there are some ways to cover the surface and reduce water flow across the disturbed soil area. Most of these practices are fairly basic and should be part of an overall onsite installation or repair plan. 

1. A vegetative cover or grass filter strips at and around the construction area is normally the most effective and practical control of erosion and sediment loadings.

By leaving as much grass in the area or by doing onsite construction projects in phases, you can slow runoff and trap sediment. 

Vegetated cover can act as a filter/buffer to capture soil from the disturbed site. Once finished with construction, you should seed as soon as possible to establish grass cover.

Annual plants (such as wheat) sprout rapidly and survive for only one growing season and may provide adequate short-term cover until a permanent vegetative cover can be established. 

2. Natural mulch such as straw and wood chips, or artificial mulch such as geotextile (fabric) rollout blankets, absorb stormwater runoff and are effective as soon as they are applied. 

Mulch is normally used in combination with seeding to provide ground cover during the establishment period for a temporary or permanent vegetative cover.

3. A silt fence or straw bale barrier is a temporary barrier that should be entrenched and anchored and is used to intercept sediment-laden runoff and to provide some retention of sediment from small drainage areas. 

When properly installed a silt fence can be used to reduce runoff velocity, and to help retain sediment on the site, thus reducing erosion and protecting water quality.

Straw bales can be used for slope protection in disturbed areas to control sheet and rill erosion or in minor swales or ditches to trap sediment-laden runoff. 

4. A temporary sediment trap/pond is a practice used to intercept and hold sediment-laden runoff.

In a larger construction area, a temporary sediment trap may be located in a drainageway or at other points of discharge from a disturbed area to trap runoff water and prevent or reduce off-site sedimentation.

In some construction areas sediment traps are used in conjunction with diversions. 

5. A diversion is a berm (dike or ridge) or a swale (excavated channel or ditch) used to prevent sediment-laden water from leaving a site and to prevent off-site or upstream waters from entering a site.

Typical diversions are a combination berm/swale and may be temporary or permanent structures. They are constructed: 

  • At the top of steep slopes where excess runoff would cause erosion problems.
  • At selected intervals on long, sloping routes.
  • Around a site to prevent entry of off-site runoff and to reduce flooding. 

For onsite sewage system construction or repair, you should have a plan of action to effectively control the potential of soil erosion or sedimentation leaving the work site. 

Many of the practices that are listed here are easy to apply and relatively inexpensive. By doing some of these simple practices you send the message to homeowners that you are concerned about the environment and try hard to protect water quality.

Make sure you have the best distribution equipment in your onsite arsenal, which will minimize erosion control and keep your systems working properly for years to come.

We’ve got you covered. From distribution boxes to piping and drip tubing, here are the best of the best:

  • The InviziQ Pressure Sewer System utilizes grinding and pumping to efficiently and responsibly move sewage to treatment facilities, no matter the terrain, slope, environmental sensitivity of the area or complex topography of the region.
  • Bioline low-volume dripline from Netafim is polyethylene pipe with pressure-compensating, continuous self-cleaning drippers installed at preset intervals.
  • The Tru-Flow Splitter from Clarus Environmental enables even distribution of wastewater across the drainfield in gravity-fed soil absorption systems.
  • Permanent, noncorrosive distribution boxes from Tuf-Tite come with a speed leveler in each outlet.
  • MPS-1336 from Plastic Tubing Industries offers a low-profile design and an economical solution for depth restriction issues.
  • The Dirty Bird septic pipe cover addresses odor problems with an included charcoal filter, comes in three colors, and fits into the landscape as a common yard ornament, a pedestal/birdbath.
  • The EZflow drainfield from Infiltrator Systems is made up of geosynthetic aggregate bundles that eliminate fines associated with crushed stone.
  • The Flygt Low Pressure Sewage System (LPSS) is a pre-engineered system designed for individual homes or small residential developments.
  • The Wasteflow dripline irrigation system from Geoflow is placed directly into the soil, at the plant’s root zone, where effluent is released slowly and uniformly to be digested and absorbed safely.
  • Drip systems from Quanics include tubing, fittings, automatic and manual management systems, drip control panels and complete pumping systems for dosing the fields.
  • PolyFlex HDPE pipe from Advanced Drainage Systems is made using pressure-rated high-density polyethylene resin providing flexibility, durability and chemical resistance.
  • The STF-100A2 pressure filter from Sim/Tech Filter helps maintain proper and efficient year-round operation of mounds, sand filters and other pressurized distribution systems.
  • Septic system vents from Pagoda Vent Company passively ventilate onsite system components.
  • The GST Leaching System from Geomatrix Systems uses a removable form to accurately shape and construct leaching fingers along the sides of a central distribution channel.
  • The Mantis M5 Series wastewater dispersal and disposal system from Eljen Corporation applies clarified effluent to the native soil through a filtering process.
  • The Retro-Air Rejuvenator System from Septic Services uses the aerobic process to restore failed anaerobic installations or to prevent failures in newly constructed septic systems by delivering a constant flow of air to the diffuser.
  • The STEP (Septic Tank Effluent Pump) System from Polylok draws effluent from the middle layer (clear zone) of the septic tank, filters the remaining unwanted solids, then pumps the effluent to either a dispersal field or a wastewater treatment system.
  • Biotube ProPak pump packages from Orenco Systems filter and pump effluent from single- or dual-compartment septic tanks to either gravity or pressurized discharge points without the need for a pump tank.
  • LSG-Series Omnivore grinder pumps from Liberty Pumps have V-Slice hardened stainless steel cutters that shred jeans, shop rags, sanitary napkins and other difficult solids into fine slurry with less jamming.
  • Rugged job-ready duplex grinder systems from Franklin Electric can handle demanding residential and light commercial sewage removal applications.
  • The E/One Extreme grinder pump station from Environment One Corporation provides 185 feet TDH, corrosion protection and expanded communications.
  • The 2 hp grinder pump from Champion Pump provides up to 133 feet TDH and flows up to 42 gpm.
  • The EP50 1/2 hp effluent pump from Ashland Pump is all cast iron, with a cast-iron impeller and PSC motor for lower amp draw and increased energy efficiency.

For complete product listings and manufacturer contact information, visit www.onsiteinstaller.com/product-focus/2014/09/september_2014.

About the Author

Bob Broz is water quality specialist with the University of Missouri Extension. He teaches classes on soil percolation for onsite installers and developed a class for real estate professionals about understanding onsite systems. He has developed a class for homeowners on the care and maintenance of onsite systems. Readers are welcome to submit questions or article suggestions to Bob. Write to briana.jones@colepublishing.com.


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