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Purpose of Erosion and Sediment Control Plan

11 July 2017

Civil engineers and their technical consulting cousins know that soldiers and explorers carved out our world. But they’re equally aware of the following truism: engineers built our society. Without those buildings and a supporting infrastructure, we’d still be living in caves. Still, nature will have her way, which is why those same engineers guard their man-made developments by incorporating an erosion and sediment control plan into the overall design.

Erosion and Sediment Control Plan Fundamentals

If you’ve ever heard of a landowner getting in trouble because he chopped down all of the trees on his land, then you already know a little about this land protection strategy. Essentially, storms and heavy downpours hit higher land, they then wash downward while carrying loose soil. The result is land erosion. The topsoil is stripped bare. Intelligently installed measures counteract potential soil relocation issues by employing a system of checks and balances to control and perhaps even reverse erosion. If the soil is no longer being carried away by floodwater, then there are no sedimentary discharges to counter.

A Sediment Management Primer

It’s bad enough when the stormwater comes barreling down a mountain pass. The dirty water washes away everything in its path. It invades the home, damages carpets and upholstery, then weakens structural foundations. However, the discharge is dirty for a reason; there’s scraped away soil and plant life suspended in the water. Now, while it’s true the loose ground matter will aggravate the flooding problem, there are worse issues ahead. Among them, the sediment blocks drains and culverts. Worse still, when gathered in large enough quantities, the accumulated dirt can change the course of a river. Essentially, the transported sediment is capable of altering the shape of the land.

Initiating a Ground Erosion Control Strategy

Man-made drainage systems partner with other powerful planning methods. Buildings and streets are clustered, not dotted on the elevated ground. Likewise, featureless ground assets, such as flat parking lots require additional planning resources, as do the access roads that feed these open areas. Finally, working in concert with the man-made drainage systems, natural water drainage channels must remain intact. These natural ground features are further reinforced by already existent foliage and planned water attenuation features, which is why tree copses like the ones we mentioned earlier cannot be unilaterally cut down, not without permission.

The next time an erosion and sediment control plan is proposed, consider the local landscape. Are there natural water filters and ground anchors in place? Saved by the root systems under these trees and bushes, land erosion is safely mitigated. Beyond these considerations, of course, a capable technical service weighs the impact of the soil type in those elevated areas and pairs this study with other contributory factors so that the structural development is paired with a balanced erosion control solution.

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