Erosion Control for Residential Construction

Residential construction

Erosion control can be challenging on any construction site. Mitigating erosion on residential construction projects, however, comes with a unique set of challenges.

Subdivision development involves extensive planning, phasing and multiple subcontractors that are often working at the same time. Homebuilders for single family detached homes have it a bit easier but that doesn’t mean erosion control can be overlooked.

Erosion control must be mitigated and managed during all phases of construction. Set your site up for success by selecting erosion and sediment control products that meet your project’s needs.

Erosion and Sediment Control Plans

Every construction site needs a plan to prevent and manage stormwater and erosion. These requirements, however, may vary by state and even locality.

In Virginia, construction operators that are disturbing more than an acre of land are required to obtain a General Permit.

Single family detached homes that are not building on more than an acre of land, and don’t have plans to, are exempt from the General Permit. These sites, however, may be inspected and held accountable to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act.

The General Permit requires the land disturbing operator to develop a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) that is specific to the construction site. This SWPPP should

  • Outline the steps to reduce runoff pollutants
  • Identify sources of stormwater pollution
  • Include methods to reduce pollution during and after construction

The SWPPP includes an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan, a Pollution Prevention Plan and a Stormwater Management Plan.

Erosion Control Products for Phase One of Construction

After the plans are approved and permits are received, phase one of construction can begin. Depending on the land where you’re building this may involve clearing trees or simply grading for perimeter controls.

Option One: Silt Fence for Perimeter Control

Before you begin grading, you need to establish a perimeter and control sediment.

Silt Fence for erosion control around home lot

Historically, Silt Fence has been the first choice for perimeter control. Silt Fence establishes a clear perimeter around the construction site, but more importantly, controls sediment that might escape during construction. Silt Fence’s woven slit film polypropylene yarns retain sediment and allow a filtered release of stormwater.

Since single family homebuilders that are developing smaller lots might benefit from using a Pre-Attached Silt Fence. Pre-Attached Silt Fence includes Silt Fence fabric and Oak Stakes mechanically attached in a roll form.

Logo Silt Fence for townhome construction project

Subdivision developers, on the other hand, will need longer rolls of Silt Fence like a 300’, 500’ or even 1500’ roll. If the site is in a high traffic area, you should consider adding a logo to your Silt Fence. Logo Silt Fence gives your site increased visibility and name recognition.

Option Two: Compost Filter Sock for Perimeter Control

The down side to installing Silt Fence for perimeter control on subdivisions is the wear and tear. Silt Fence gets trampled, run over and collapses. If your Silt Fence is compromised when an inspector arrives on site, that could result in a fine for you.

The alternative to Silt Fence is Compost Filter Sock. Similar to Silt Fence, the Compost Filter Sock traps sediment. Compost Filter Socks are now manufactured in continuous pallets up to 200 linear feet. Installation of the continuous pallets is fast and simple but it does require equipment.

Diamond Sock for perimeter control

Compost Filter Sock is also easy to repair and replace. Simply cut the netting and tie off the end with a zip tie. Install another wattle parallel to the repaired sock or stack it on top of the damaged sock. Anchor the Compost Filter Socks with Oak Stakes.

Compost Filter Socks are also very versatile. If you purchase a pallet and have leftover product, tie off sections of the wattle and use it for inlet protection, check dams or any location where you need to dissipate sheet flow and filter stormwater.

Inlet Protection for Residential Construction

It is critical to protect your inlets through all phases of construction. That includes existing inlets (such as curb inlets in front of a redeveloped detached home lot) and new inlets (those created after stormwater pipe is added).

More than likely you will need a combination of Curb Inlet and Drop Inlet devices. These stormwater products trap silt and sediment before pollutants enter the stormwater system. When you’re considering what inlet protection devices your development needs, consider how your devices were treated on previous projects. Inlet protection devices are run over by equipment, displaced and not returned to their inlets. Choose an inlet protection device that is easy to maintain and tough enough to last the duration of the project.

Curb Inlet Protection

For curb inlet protection, we recommend the Dandy Curb. The Dandy Curb is a tube wrapped in orange monofilament fabric. Attached to the front of the tube is a Velcro pouch. Add clean stone to this patch to weight the Dandy Curb in place and pre-filter debris.

Dandy Curb for curb inlet protection

The Dandy Curb is designed to fit most curb inlets and is stocked in the following sizes:

  • 6’
  • 8’
  • 10’
  • 12’

The Dandy Curb should be installed with one foot of overlap at each end of the gutter pan. For example, a 4’ gutter opening will need a 6’ Dandy Curb.

After rain events, clean off the front pouch and remove sediment build up.

Drop Inlet Protection

For drop inlet protection, we recommend the Dandy Sack. The best thing about the Dandy Sack is that it secures below the grate. This means it can withstand vehicle, equipment and pedestrian traffic. When homeowners begin to move into the development, there is no unsightly construction device collapsing on or near the road.

Dandy Sack for drop inlet protection

To maintain the Dandy Sack, simply remove the grate and the bag to clear out sediment build up after storms.

Seeding and Stabilizing Home Construction Sites

The last key to erosion control on residential construction projects is seeding and stabilization.

Seeding Lots and Lawns

After the site work is complete and curb and gutter is in, subdivision lots begin to develop independently of each other. On large subdivision projects, one section may even develop months after another. That means you need to have ground cover during those months of inactivity.

Hydroseeding residential neighborhood

Hydroseeding is the best way to get fast and widespread ground cover. Hydroseeders hydraulically spray hydromulch, seed, fertilizer and additives. Hydroseeding is ideal for inactive lots, backyards, front entrances and paths.  Hydroseeding mixes vary greatly but most contractors prefer a seasonal Contractor’s Blend Seed. Our Contractor’s Blend works great for hydroseeding because it is cost-effective and custom blended to meet the needs of our Mid-Atlantic season.

When it comes to front yards and curb appeal, select a higher quality seed like a Quad Fescue. Sod is also a great option for pad lots in a subdivision because it is attractive in a growing neighborhood.

Stabilize with Erosion Control Blankets

If you need additional soil stabilization on these sections, you may also need to install erosion control blankets. There are endless options for Erosion Control Blankets and the selection ultimately comes down to the severity of your slope and erosion.

Residential developers that are concerned about degradability, however, should select an All Natural Erosion Control Blanket. The All Natural Blanket is 100% biodegradable which means it will fully degrade over time.

Typical Erosion Control Blankets are only partially degradable. When homeowners move in and start to mow their lawns, the fibers from a standard Erosion Control Blanket can get caught in lawn mower blades. This causes major stress and might even result in damage. All Natural Erosion Control Blankets include

  • Single Net Straw All Natural
  • Double Net Straw All Natural
  • Curlex I All Natural
  • Curlex II All Natural
  • Straw/Coconut All Natural

Single family homebuilders will not likely need to hydroseed but erosion control blankets may be necessary for sensitive areas like slopes and curbsides.

Last Thoughts on Erosion Control for Residential Construction

Like all construction projects, there isn’t a one size fits all answer for erosion control. The products you choose should equate to the size and scope of your plans. Pre-Attached Silt Fence, HDPE pipe and a good seed might be all you need for erosion control on a single family home project. Larger subdivisions, however, will require more solutions.

Save yourself time and stress by selecting smart erosion control products that can withstand wear and tear. Integrate these products into planning so there is a solution in place if an erosion control or Stormwater management issue arises.

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