Topsoil erosion is one of the biggest environmental issues facing our world today. According to the World Wildlife Federation, half of all topsoil on the planet has eroded away over the past 150 years. And unfortunately, not only is it nearly impossible to retrieve eroded soil, but it also causes significant pollution problems when it reaches rivers or oceans.
What can you do to reduce topsoil erosion? While the construction industry presents several hazards that can contribute to water runoff or further erosion, a few changes to your equipment or routine could help to drastically reduce erosion at your location. Here are a few strategies to get you started.
Observe & Plan Ahead
Before construction begins, visit your worksite and take a look around. Is the ground sloped or covered in loose soil? What nearby ground or features could be affected by water runoff?
Additionally, take note of anything you can potentially use to prevent erosion. For instance, if your excavation requires you to remove trees, bring a mulcher along and convert the trees into mulch to cover the exposed ground. Not only will this help the soil stay in place after your project is done, but it will also prevent the trees from simply going to waste.
Pro Tip: Soil runoff from a construction project not only erodes the landscape but can also pour silt into rivers. Set up silt fencing to prevent severe soil runoff from occurring.
Cover the Ground
Mulch isn’t your only option to cover exposed soil. You can temporarily cover small areas with plastic sheets, or for a long-term solution, plant grass seeds to hold the ground in place. Once the excavation is complete, talk with your landscaper or local wildlife experts to find the best species of grass to sow. Whatever you ultimately choose, make sure the ground is adequately protected against further erosion.
Don’t be in a Rush
Despite your best efforts, erosion can still occur if you rush your project. Take a little extra time to excavate only one portion of the worksite at a time and cover the ground before you move on to the next one. Try to disrupt the local ecosystem as little as possible. The additional time required to do a good job will be worth the reduction in erosion and its associated costs.
Minimize Erosion in Your Projects
Sediment control should be one of your primary concerns as you work to keep your environmental impact to a minimum. No matter what your project entails, it’s not difficult to implement strategies to help protect the local ecosystem. Take care to observe your worksite and plan ahead to prevent erosion in construction projects.
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Construction is generally a rather slow-moving job. With a line of crews waiting to work on each section of the project and a looming deadline for completion, it proves to be demanding work. Any way to save time is welcome.
Fortunately, jobs that involve dewatering have a massive advantage for saving time: the Aqua-Barrier. This inflatable temporary cofferdam is a quick, easy way to clear the worksite in a matter of hours and let work begin almost immediately. Let’s take a look at what an inflatable dam could do for your project.
Installing a Conventional Cofferdam
A conventional cofferdam, typically made of concrete or steel, requires a good amount of work and care. First, the wall itself is installed in the proper place to establish the border of the worksite. Next, huge pumps remove the water from the site, allowing the crew to enter and begin the project. The most obvious problem with this set-up is the time involved in constructing a secure wall, then dewatering afterward. This process could take an entire day, potentially more if the worksite is especially large. And when the job is done, what will you do with the materials? They aren’t exactly reusable.
Installing an Aqua-Barrier
By contrast, an Aqua-Barrier requires significantly less time and effort to set up. Simply determine the border of the worksite, unroll the barrier, and inflate it. Best of all, you can combine the dewatering process with the initial setup since the barrier fills full of water! Just put the displaced water into your cofferdam. Though the exact time required to inflate the cofferdam varies, an 8ft x 100ft Aqua-Barrier takes a mere 2 hours to fully inflate.
Save Time on Future Projects
Not only is an Aqua-Barrier the superior choice for your immediate needs, but it’s also a great way to save time on your future construction projects. If you opt for a conventional cofferdam, you’ll have to safely dispose of the building materials afterward since you’ll likely be unable to reuse or recycle them. This also means you’ll need to start from scratch the next time you need a cofferdam. Fortunately, an Aqua-Barrier is fully reusable!
Pro Tip: Some water barrier materials, such as sandbags, have to be treated as hazardous waste. Avoid this environmental hazard and time waster by using an Aqua-Barrier instead!
Streamline Your Next Dewatering & Construction Job
While you can’t control everything that might contribute to a delay in your construction work, you can certainly control the amount of time you spend dewatering your worksite. An Aqua-Barrier can turn a days-long dewatering job into mere hours. Add one of these essential inflatable barriers to your construction equipment and save time with the quick Aqua-Barrier installation!
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Cofferdams are a very effective way to provide dewatering solutions for a number of different projects. They can be utilized for construction sites, shoreline restoration projects, building bridges, and much more.
Each project’s specifications are extremely individual and can often change depending on the time of year and location. The experts at Water World, an influential online flood control industry news site, have provided 5 important aspects to consider when you begin your dewatering and cofferdam projects:
1. Depth and Flow
These conditions change from season to season. Water World suggests reviewing the timing of the project and consulting the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to gauge fluctuations in water levels at the site to determine the best timetable for the project.
“Turbidity requirements, contamination concerns, right-of-way restrictions, and time constraints for working in the water” are all items that may need permits or permission to conduct construction. Even though it is usually the responsibility of the project engineer to understand and obtain these permits, it is important for the contractor to know these as well.
3. Navigating the Subsurface
Water world suggests that knowing, “the silt levels, slopes, vegetation and composition of the subsurface” to determine the best cofferdam technology and specifications to meet the projects needs.
4. Contractor Experience
Because of the complexity of dewatering projects, it is important to hire contractors who have experience working in and around water. Experience affords the contractor the ability to understand and respond to changing conditions of the work site. They may have come across overlapping aspects in previous jobs to determine the best solutions for the current project.
5. Engineering and Design Criteria
The last aspect a contractor needs to know before beginning the dewatering project is the right cofferdam technology for the project and if the cofferdam’s construction cost meets specifications. “Further, he or she should conclude if the project calls for Professional Engineer Stamped Calculations. The contractor should be well-versed in dam safety protocol and standard operating procedures and also able to provide engineering support in an emergency.”
Understanding and utilizing each of these five tips can better prepare your project for a quick and efficient delivery. Hydrological Solutions is highly experience in dewatering projects, and understands the uniqueness of each site and the necessary processes for effective cofferdam installation.
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