Easy Solutions 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.

Easy Solutions 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.

Soil erosion has been identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the No. 1 source of water-quality degradation and 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 offsite 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 offsite 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 offsite 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 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 Advanced Drainage Systems distribution box is a high-density polyethylene box designed to evenly distribute effluent by gravity flow.
  • The noncorrosive TUF-TITE Distribution Box with a Speed Leveler in each outlet provides a simple, stable, reliable and permanent means for dividing septic tank effluent flow.
  • The WW4 effluent filter from Clarus Environmental is mounted in the outflow of the septic tank to provide protection from solids moving out of the tank and into the dispersal area.
  • The GSF, or Geotextile Sand Filter, advanced wastewater treatment and dispersal system from Eljen is designed to provide treatment and dispersal in the same footprint while keeping installations easy and maintenance minimal.
  • The GST Leaching System from Geomatrix Systems is an adaptation of the stone leaching trench, improved with the use of a removable form to accurately shape and construct leaching fingers along the sides of a central distribution channel.
  • The Mini Power Post from Jim Murray can be used to make a professional and safe connection for power and float-switch wiring connections to an onsite septic system.
  • Orifice shields from Sim/Tech Filter are designed to prevent drain media, such as drain stone, from blocking discharge holes, helping to keep pressurized systems distributing effluent evenly.
  • The Drip Irrigation Headworks package from Jet Inc. is designed as a direct-mount device on an effluent pump tank to filter effluent while controlling pressure to the dripfield.
  • The Subsurface Drip Disposal System from Norweco is engineered to uniformly apply treated effluent below the ground’s surface. 
  • The Ecoflo Biofilter from Premier Tech Aqua is offered as a nitrogen-removal unit using a new add-on kit. 
  • Heavy-duty effluent pumps from Ashland Pump are available in multiple horsepower sizes for various performance requirements, with efficient permanent split-capacitor motors. 
  • The Concertor smart, interconnected wastewater-pumping system from Flygt - a Xylem Brand senses the operating conditions of its environment, adapts its performance in real time and provides feedback to pumping station operators.
  • Designed to deliver the benefits of sound-attenuated silent pumps, the ReliaPrime emergency bypass station from Gorman-Rupp operates on natural gas.
  • Biotube ProPak Pump Packages from Orenco Systems are complete, ready-to-install pump packages in a box, used for filtering and pumping effluent from single- or dual-compartment septic tanks to gravity or pressurized discharge points.
  • The PL-CPE5A from Polylok is a submersible 1/2 hp, 115-volt, single-phase effluent pump with a 2-inch NPT vertical discharge.
  • The Series 800 industrial vertical immersion sump pump from Vertiflo Pump can be used for sump drainage, flood control, cooling towers and process drainage to meet U.S. EPA and OSHA requirements.

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