Construction sites are a common sight during the warmer months in NE Ohio and so is the black fabric silt fence that rings the sites. Silt fence is as ubiquitous as pot holes during construction season.
Silt fence is a specific application of “perimeter controls” that construction sites are required to keep installed while construction activity takes place. Perimeter controls are one of many requirements placed on construction sites to minimize negative impacts to the environment and infrastructure. Perimeter controls, when installed properly, will minimize sediment-laden flows from exiting the site and entering storm drains.
Installing silt fence requires the bottom of the silt fence is trenched in anywhere from 2 inches to 6 inches and the trench filled back in to create a sediment-tight seal. Why is trapping sediment on a construction site important?
Briefly stated, sediment entering the storm drain has an accumulative and incremental negative impact to infrastructure.
When sediment builds up in storm drains it reduces the amount of storm water that can flow through it. During torrential rain events, water will back up and flood the street. If up slope storm sewers are functioning properly and down slope storm sewers are restricted during down-pour rains, water can come out of storm drain inlets instead of entering into it.
Clogged storm sewers require maintenance from specialized equipment like a Vacuum truck. High pressure jets of water on the end of a hose flush the sediment to a point where it can be vacuumed out. This cost incurred by tax payers can be minimized when sediment is kept out of the storm sewers in the first place.
Call your city and report if you see muddy chocolate milk like storm water runoff entering into the storm drain or you’ll end up paying for it.