Keeping Sediment Out of Storm Drains

Keeping Sediment Out of Storm Drains - Erosion Control Central - Erosion Control Calgary

Albertans are no strangers to unpredictable weather. Since we are now dealing with summer weather systems, we are much more aware of rainfall and the potential for precipitation before it’s upon us. For property managers, there are ways of preparing for heavy rainfall that will save a lot of costly clean up time in the long run.  We see it time after time where a contractor will hedge on saving money, then end up paying double or triple the original costs. The best and most effective strategy is to use the best tools available to you for your site specific conditions to ensure that storm drains are being kept as sediment-free as possible! Where do you start?

First of all, what exactly is sediment? Sediment is a combination of particulate natural materials, such as dirt, weathered rock fragments, and other debris that is transported by water or wind.  Not only is sediment on its own deemed a “deleterious” substance (meaning to cause harm or damage) to aquatic environments, it is also a mechanism of transport for all sorts of potential pollutants that are commonplace with construction site activity.  

This sediment can spell some serious trouble if left unmitigated.  Much of our historical infrastructure within our urban environment was put in place to empty directly into our creeks, rivers and drainage basins, untouched, unfiltered. Luckily for us, experts who came before us and who were serious about sediment control, developed methods and devices to combat the effects of unwanted sediment and debris in our storm drainage systems.  

The purpose of these systems designed to convey water in our urban environment is to keep excess water draining away from all artificial structures, such as our roads and sidewalks, footpaths, parking lots, and any other largely paved or graveled spaces. Sediment reaching and potentially clogging the storm drain defeats this purpose, so implementing proper sediment control for our drainage systems is essential. One way to control sediment yields to catch basins is by using a filtration device that absorbs or catches the sediment and allows only filtered storm water through to the drains. Implementing drain guards, debris screens, curb guards, and filter socks is an excellent way to start the process of protecting our storm drains from potential sediment releases.  

However, what the industry has come to learn is that these types of measures in fact should be considered “the last line of defense”, not the be all end all solution. What we now realize is that these previous measures should be part of a more dynamic solution which incorporates “Upgradient” measures to bear the load of the mitigating sediment migration. These measures include and are not limited to better construction phasing, stabilizating areas that would be left exposed for extended periods of time, more effective perimeter controls, well designed catchment systems and the most important of all, better communication by designers, stakeholders and qualified installers.  

It can be said that our geography provides us with wild weather fluctuations. With the tools we have at our disposal these days, our construction site management can incorporate innovation, strategic planning and use the proper tools site specific to the job to properly control the impact to our drainage systems. Taking care of our city’s drainage infrastructure before it reaches our streets means an enhanced quality of life for people, vegetative health, and wildlife. It just makes sense and cents!

For more suggestions on what you can implement for your personal property, your construction site, or even your city when it comes to secure sediment control, don’t hesitate to contact our knowledgeable team at our Edmonton or Calgary offices. We look forward to discussing proper sediment control with you!