Sediment is the scientific term for mud, dirt, and soil. While it is a natural part of the environment, too much of it in one place can pollute our streams, lakes, and rivers. Sediment runoff into our streets and stormwater drains negatively impacts the health of local streams by degrading habitat for aquatic life, decreasing recreational value, and promoting growth of invasive plant species and algae.
Erosion and sediment control is important on every construction site. Construction sites, large or small, can become a problem for existing neighbors as well as the environment when soil has been disturbed.
One way to keep this pollution to a minimum is by installing devices to control erosion and reduce the amount of sediment leaving the construction site. The property owner and construction company should determine the specific practices needed during construction and maintain them throughout the project so off-site sedimentation does not occur.
At a minimum, construction sites should utilize rock construction entrances and silt fence around the edge of the project to prevent sediment from getting into the streets, stormwater swales, and stormwater pipes. Any sediment tracked out in the streets, curb lines, or stormwater swales will be carried to the nearest stream, lake, or river when it rains.
When cleaning sediment off streets, driveways, and paved areas on construction sites, dry sweeping methods should be used instead of water hoses whenever possible. If water must be used to clean pavement, stormwater inlets should be protected to filter sediment entering the stormwater drainage system.