Tips Controlling Sediment and Erosion Problems

Simple Steps to Control Erosion and Sediment Problems

The following tips for controlling sediment and erosion problems are the key to success on your storm water pollution prevention plan. Controlling run-off waters effectively will reduce erosion and sediment problems in your construction projects and will reduce the environmental impact of your project. These tips along with best management practices for EPA's SWPPP will have a positive effect when controlling erosion and sediment problems.

Minimize Disturbed Areas

Controlling erosion
Undisturbed areas. By NCDOTcommunications

When starting your construction project, control the limits of your project by working only in the necessary areas involved in the site. Controlling the areas to be worked is a great tip and will reduce significantly the erosion and sediment control problems. Keep natural vegetation when possible and do not disturb areas that have topsoil in place.

Phase Construction Activity

Controlling erosion
Divide your project into phases. By NCDOTcommunications
Control erosion and sedimentation by dividing your project into phases. When you divide your project into phases the erosion and sedimentation problem can be minimized and centralized in relatively small areas easier to control and to stabilize.

Create Sediment Traps or Ditch

Runoff water can be redirected to specific areas where you will prepare a sediment trap or similar structure to trap sediment-filled runoff water. It can be controlled by redirecting water with diversion ditches located at the up-slope side of a construction site.

Stabilize Soils

Controlling Erosion
HydroSeeding. By USFWS Pacific

Many permits require you to carry out stabilization measures in place after a specific time frame. Some temporary measures can include: seeding, mulch, blankets, and the use of wool binders. If the stabilization measure is permanent it can vary from permanent seeding, planting, channel stabilization and green buffer. After the permanent stabilization measure is in place, you can go to your SWPPP to mark the area as completed and stop inspections in that area. Remember that dust control is also another area that needs to be stabilized.

Slope Protection

Controlling erosion
Controlling erosion. By Hitchster
There are multiple options for erosion and sediment control on slopes. Slope erosion control methods will depend on the degree of inclination of the slope being worked out. On a moderate slope active measures such as silt fence or fiber rolls can be installed on leveled contours between 10 or 20 feet in distance. Geo-textiles, turf blanket and mats can also be used as slope protection.

Storm Inlet Protection

Usually storm inlets are protected inside a project but, not so frequent on adjacent or nearby storm drain inlets. Providing protection against erosion and sediment control on a storm drain inlet can be achieved by using silt fence, rock-filled bags, or block and gravel. The type of measure used will depend on the type of drain inlet being protected, it's opening and the flow that it is expected to receive.

Controlling the Perimeter

Silt Fence along the perimeter. By faceless B
An important tip when solving erosion control and sediment problem is to establish and secure a clean perimeter. A clean perimeter will be formed by installing a temporary silt fence barrier properly installed and trenched into the ground providing lateral resistance. This perimeter fence will retain sediment carried by storm-water, only in small areas and will be useless on large areas or high slopes. Do Not Use silt fencing or fiber rolls alone in areas that drain more than a quarter-acre per 100 feet of fence

Dewatering and Sediment Traps

Controlling erosion
Sediment traps will reduce erosion problems. By Treesftf

Many of the problems related to sediment and erosion can be reduced by building sediment control traps or basins. The installation of these systems will reduce runoff water allowing sediment to settle before it is discharged. EPA is enforcing a sediment basin on most of the construction projects to work as a sediment trap and to reduce the amount of energy being discharged into water systems.The sediment basin must the have capacity to store at least a two year storm runoff water. Dewatering practices are used to remove ground water or accumulated rain water from excavated areas and sometimes a separate permit is required to perform dewatering activities.

Construction Entrance

Stabilized construction entrances will help you to reduce sediment being carried away by construction vehicles. It is recommended to have two construction entrances, formed regularly by large crushed stone areas. These areas will require maintenance or removing the crushed stone allowing for new and clean stone to replace the sediment-filled previous one. Construction entrance shall be at least 50 feet long. However, in some circumstances this length cannot be achieved, so it is recommended to provide on employee who can pressure-wash the tires of vehicles going in and out of the project.


Inspection is the key when working with sediment and erosion problems. Follow closely your plan, and inspect carefully your project after a storm event, or just after a small rainfall. By conducting small routine inspections your system will be able to handle in a more appropriate way run-off water.