Erosion and Sediment Control Treatments: Monitoring and Guidelines

15 February 2019

In days long past, soil particle movements were entirely natural. As people moved in, those patterns altered. Coming down firmly on the side of Mother Nature, erosion and sediment control strategies have been produced to counteract man’s interference. Those treatment plans and remedial programs don’t simply spring to life overnight, though. To properly structure each waterway and floodplain compensation mechanism, the powers that be need a system-monitoring framework.

A Fundamental Waterway Monitoring Solution

Every attentive walker has seen an example of flood management control in action. Attached to an embankment or bridge support, a long measuring ruler gauges the height of flood waters. At some point, a gatehouse can open its ironclad portal and reduce those levels. For erosion monitoring and sediment control, the installed monitoring mechanisms are a little different. Staked into the ground, sediment measuring rods are embellished with metered lines and notches. Similar devices record erosion patterns, although these stakes sink deeper because the particle movement action subtracts soil.

Next-Level Control Programs

Unfortunately, even the most observant among us can’t always identify such long-term problems. Ground erosion takes place over weeks and months. It’s the same with sediment build-up, with mounds of muddy dirt accumulating over months. To keep track of the slow soil movements, photographic evidence illustrates the changes, perhaps as a time-lapse film. Erosion pegs work just as well as staked measuring rods, and then there are water turbidity tests to analyze in-flow particle movements. For a seasoned engineer, even the condition of the local vegetation provides vital clues. Eroded by unnatural water patterns, a once healthy strip of vegetation gives way to denuded soil.

Erosion and Sediment Control Guidelines

Okay, let’s address the small issues before they becomes major problems. It’s not as if we can erase the sediment and draw in new soil, after all. Dealing with the problems, calling in preventative planning programs, don’t allow construction sites to pile their building materials close to city drainage systems. Install and monitor gravel bags and sediment control fences. Instead of steep slopes, design benches and terraces into a hillside. And, if there are denuded areas, recommend a planting program that’ll establish a tough bed of vegetative matter. Again, a truly professional solution works with Mother Nature, not against her wishes.

The strategies discussed in this post apply to Melbourne and the terrain that man’s impacting all across Australia. Really, though, the same methods are put into practice in every developed nation around the globe. They begin as nascent erosion and sediment control plans, evolve into photographically and mechanically monitoring systems, and expand to influence every hillside and city drainage branch.

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