Soil Erosion

The effects of erosion and sedimentation are well known. Typically, when the earth’s surface is exposed to the impacts of rainfall, there is an increase in the volume and velocity of runoff. This sets off a chain reaction that results in the transport and deposition of sediment, reduced stream capacity, and ultimately increased stream scour and flooding.

Silts and sediments are hazardous materials that can damage the ecosystems. Suspended sediment contributes to a decline in water quality by blocking sunlight, reducing photosynthesis, decreasing plant growth, destroying bottom dwelling species’ habitat, carrying attached pollutants such as phosphorous, and so on. The list of negative impacts is long.

Erosion and sediment control have become global issues in the last decade and have prompted regulators to institute requirements for the control of soil loss from construction sites. Regulations such as the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) in the United States and the Environmental Construction Operations Plan (ECOPlan) in the province of Alberta, Canada have increased the need for Erosion and Sediment control products.

Geosynthetics can be used for sediment control in most applications.

  • Silt fences are used on land where construction has disturbed the soil. The silt fence can prevent silt from running off the construction site onto streets, into streams or into catch basins.
  • The Triangular Silt Dike® is an improvement over silt fence. It is a lightweight, flexible barrier that is easier to install than silt fence and can be reused. Silt dikes replace check dams and silt fences in ditches and at the perimeter of the job site.
  • Catch basin sediment traps are placed in catch basin inlets to filter silt from run-off water.
  • A silt bag is a sewn bag of non-woven geotextile that is placed over a pump outlet hose. The bag filters the water from the pump and collects silts in the bag. Silt bags also may be called "pipe socks."
  • A floating turbidity barrier is a synthetic fabric curtain, suspended within a body of water, supported by a flotation unit at the top and held in a vertical position by ballast at the bottom. This tool is designed to restrict the flow of silt-laden runoff from a land disturbance, keep it confined to a limited area, and allow the silt and sediment to be collected before being carried away to adjacent watercourses.


There are a variety of sediment control tools available to help you prevent damage to our environment. Which one works best for you?