When it comes to lessening the ecological impact of the construction work you perform, prevention is just as important as mitigation. Although cleaning up the job site, using sustainable materials and other proactive steps all play a crucial role, anything builders can do to prevent their action from harming the surrounding ecosystems should be prioritized.

For example, erosion control is necessary when working near rivers, streams and other bodies of water. Changes in elevation, the movement of heavy equipment and water runoff can all force soil into the water, bringing potentially harmful effects to the surrounding flora and fauna. Having the proper erosion control strategy in place before you begin work ensures you can avoid damaging the environment. 

Understanding Your Options for Erosion Control

There are several techniques for preventing soil erosion. Which one is right for your project depends on a number of factors, including where you work and the type of job. Some of the most common of these methods include: 

  • Access Mats: Interlocking timber mats serve to create portable, temporary roadways and staging platforms. When used on sites with wet, soft ground, they lessen the pressure exerted on the soils by heavy machinery and prevent them from being forced into nearby waterways. These also reduce the need for aggregates for building pads, which could be washed into the water themselves. 
  • Articulated Blocks: Made from concrete and fitted together with joints, these are used typically along waterways and drainage channels to keep soil along the banks in place. Because they are articulated, they can conform to the natural shape and outline of the embankments for maximum efficacy. 
  • Geotextiles: These are fabrics that are used to hold soil in place and reinforce slopes. There are numerous types of these that can be utilized to facilitate drainage or filtration, as well. 
  • Soil Nails: For slopes that are in danger of collapsing, steel bars are driven into the side and capped with facings that resemble retaining walls. This enables them to hold the earth in place even as crews work above them. 
  • Riprap: Generally used in areas where there is a high degree of concentrated runoff, this involves geotextile membranes covered with large stone aggregates. It serves to allow runoff to flow away from the site without carrying soils away with it. 

These are just a handful of the many strategies you can use to prevent erosion and improve the environmental footprint of your project. For more ideas that may be useful on your job site, see the accompanying resource. 


Courtesy Of Yak Mat