Construction projects of any size risk land erosion. Workers maneuver heavy vehicles and machinery across segments of untouched land. For those in the access business, teams are creating roads and passageways to worksites across landscapes that may be uneven, heavily wooded, or surrounded by wetlands.
The objective becomes how to keep workers safe and adhere to a strict timeline while also protecting the natural environment and local landscapes. Erosion is an unfortunate and inherent risk for any construction team, including those clearing access roads.
Benefits of Erosion Control at Construction Sites
Erosion proves costly for teams who want to keep maintenance costs low. It also threatens permanent damage to the land.
The benefits of erosion control at construction sites are clear. Moreover, teams can implement several strategies to curtail the risk of erosion. In this article, we outline those methods of prevention so you can break ground on your next construction project without quite literally allowing the ground around you to erode.
Reduce environmental impact.
Erosion is typically talked about in the following categories: rain, sheet, rill, gully, and stream bank erosion. We tend to think about erosion in the most literal sense and in the most immediately affected areas. But what we often forget is the impact on local soil and water quality.
When heavy machinery is consistently dragged across an unprotected area of land and/or in tandem with natural wind and water elements, the top level of soil becomes vulnerable. Topsoil is essential to the health of an area’s terrain because it contains a rich supply of plant nutrients and organic matter. When this layer is stripped from the surface, the soil becomes unable to self-regulate. That is, it can’t provide nutrients, control water flow, or reduce the harmful effects of insects.
Off-site, water pollution caused by erosion creates an inhospitable environment for both vegetation and animal species. Water pollution as a result of erosion is usually broken down into two categories: saturated sediments and saturated nutrients. Extra sediments can cause the water to become foggy, also known as turbidity. Extra nutrients can cause excess levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, which in turn causes overgrowth. This is known as eutrophication. Damage to water quality in nearby streams and rivers can lead to violations of the Clean Water Act. The CWA was enacted in 1948 to regulate the discharge of pollutants into U.S. waters.
Reducing erosion means reducing the environmental impact that can have devastating effects on the region's ecosystem for years to come.
Mitigate safety concerns.
Erosion also puts workers in harm’s way. When the ground is uneven or insecure, it becomes impossible to safely transport tools or machinery to the jobsite. Workers risk their own safety to continue working at the same level of efficiency while accounting for perilous land conditions around them.
Addressing erosion head-on through a variety of methods discussed later in this article ensures that your workers are not risking their own health and safety as they carry out daily tasks.
Eliminate wasteful spending.
The first two major issues with erosion—environmental impact and safety concerns—necessitate the third. When worksites don’t operate efficiently because of increased safety and environmental concerns in response to erosion, teams must compensate. However, these extra measures can be costly for companies of all sizes.
When worksites remain vigilant about combating erosion in an effort to mitigate environmental and safety concerns, costs of maintenance upkeep, safety protection, and slow productivity also go down.
Strategies for Erosion Control at Construction Sites
So how do you best control the erosion at construction sites while providing top-of-the-line road clearing services? Luckily, there are a number of strategies your teams can employ to combat the harmful effects of erosion and ensure a safe environment for everyone.
Use articulated concrete blocks.
Stop water erosion before it’s too late. Articulated concrete blocks are constructed of various shapes and thicknesses. Workers can place concrete blocks around a waterway or water leakage to prevent water erosion.
Put geotextiles in at-risk areas.
Geotextiles are typically made of mesh or a warp-knitted structure. Workers place geotextiles over at-risk areas—namely roads, pipelines, and embankments—to prevent erosion.
Install turbidity barriers.
As previously mentioned, turbidity results when erosion pollutes water, causing it to fog up. Turbidity barriers not only prevent soil erosion but also control the migration of contaminants so water doesn’t become further polluted.
Drill soil nails.
Sloped areas can be especially vulnerable to soil erosion. To offset the associated risk, soil nails, along with a set of steel bars, can be drilled into the ground. This setup serves as a reinforcement, much like a retaining wall.
Employ dust control.
Dust can cause damage to both air and water quality. Wind erosion often follows. Silt fences and misted water are among the best antidotes for controlling this type of erosion.
Ways YAK ACCESS Helps with Erosion Control at Construction Sites
Bottom line: Erosion puts your workers at risk and stalls project development. Crews that fail to take precautionary measures leave themselves, their equipment, and the completion of the project vulnerable.
Luckily, YAK ACCESS offers total construction access solutions to ensure every road access project follows a specific set of protocols: clearing the site, installing the mats, preserving the wetlands, and restoring the land.
From mat installation to removal, YAK is committed to protecting the land. Each of YAK’s brands makes the same commitment to care for the environment through restoration practices.