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BMPs Work.

Construction sites are a common sight during the warmer months in NE Ohio. Every construction site where soil is disturbed through excavation or grading is required by the state of Ohio to install and maintain best management practices (BMP) for erosion and sediment control.

Keeping soil out of our storm sewers, streams, and lake is the goal of best management practices. When BMPs are installed correctly and maintained, they accomplish their intent.

Pictured are several examples of best management practices that are effective in minimizing sediment escaping the construction site where they are emplaced.

Picture one shows storm drain inlet protection. The trade name of this device is called a “Dandy Bag” after the company that manufactures it. The storm drain grate is placed in the bag and the assembly is placed onto a storm drain inlet. This area of the construction site is being prepared for final landscaping and the disturbed soils are exposed to the elements. The inlet protection allows water to pass through the fabric while catching and holding the sediment on the surface much like a coffee filter in an automatic drip coffee pot.

Picture two shows a technique used in vegetative stabilization. On the right side of the photo one can see where “erosion control matting” is emplaced. The matting consists of biodegradable fibers and is placed on top of seeded areas to protect the seed and soil from erosion. The left side of the photo shows soil being eroded and flowing onto a new parking area because erosion control matting is missing. The presence of the erosion control matting on the right side of the photograph demonstrates the effectiveness in minimizing erosion of soils during storm events.

Picture three shows a technique/product named “filter sock” used on the perimeter of a project site. The site is in downtown Cleveland where a water well is being drilled. There is a large amount of muck and mud coming out of the ground from drilling the well. The filter sock is filled with compost and allows water to slowly permeate through the material and exit cleanly on the other side. The water on the sidewalk is clear after the filter sock trapped all of the sediment produced from drilling the well.

Picture four shows another perimeter control technique. Pictured is a section of “silt fence.” This picture shows an extreme circumstance where a soil pile was placed in close proximity to the silt fence. While storing soil in contact with silt fence is not recommended, the picture shows the capability of the silt fence to trap sediment on a construction site.

When best management practices are installed correctly and maintained properly they are an effective means of keeping soil out of our water.

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