Despite being a fundamental resource that supports life on our planet, soil is often overlooked in our national discussions on environmental health. We hear about water quality or air quality, but rarely about soil quality. Yet, soil affects our everyday lives, from the food we eat and where we live, to the natural and ecological functions that soil provides. The largest threat to soil—and therefore to us—is the loss of, or damage to, the productive topsoil, often caused by erosion and/or poor land use practices.
Although erosion is a natural process caused by wind, water and ice that slowly, but steadily wears away the material on the land surface, by some estimates human activity has accelerated this process by nearly 40%. As more and more of our precious topsoil gets displaced, a chain of negative reactions continues to threaten our natural environment. Soil carried from runoff makes its way into various channels and waterways, significantly reducing the quality of water in streams, ponds, and rivers. This chokes out aquatic life and negatively impacts the health of numerous species. As more and moil soil piles up in riverbeds, the overall volume of water that the river can hold beneath its banks is decreased. This causes flooding when big storms hit as the water pushes over the banks and begins its destructive path barging into homes, roads, walkways, and fragile environmental areas. Loss of topsoil in areas where plants and vegetation grow leads to a reduction in valuable plant life. In some areas where erosion has been severe, lush, green areas have been reduced to barren deserts.
Clearly, a closer look at this topic reveals that protecting our nation’s soil needs to become a paramount objective.
As our 32nd president Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.”
A question that has been with us since Global Environmental Solutions’ inception has been: “What can we do to be part of the solution to this all-important issue?” The result of that inquiry has been the development of a suite of products that help stabilize soil, reduce erosion, and create a healthier environment for us all.
When we created our pioneering product, DirtGlue® we wanted to make something that was versatile enough to help tackle the issue of soil erosion across all of the most common problem areas. From our research we knew that the biggest threats to the health of our nation’s soil were found in modern agriculture, urban development, deforestation, road building, and mining.
If we zoom in on just one of these for a moment, let’s say mining, we can see that there are great opportunities for lessening the impact on our soil. If you were a bird flying over most any mining operation, you would see that there is a whole lot more activity happening at this site than merely what happens inside the mine. You would see hundreds of large, industrial vehicles moving around many acres of land surrounding the mine. You would see large transport vehicles coming in and out of the area each day. You would see stockpiles of material and tailings dams holding back mine waste. You would also probably notice huge plumes of dust kicked-up by all this vehicular activity. It doesn’t take long at all for the soil within a very large radius in all directions of the mine to get utterly destroyed. All of this displaced soil then makes its way into surrounding areas, both as stormwater runoff when it rains, and along the tire treads of all those trucks coming in and out of the site – a term called “track out.” Depending on where the mine or quarry is located, this could mean a lot of soil washing its way into places where it will pose a serious threat. What is worse, is that often the soil in mining areas has been embedded with numerous harmful substances, from heavy metals, to acids and other chemicals used to leach the particles of ore from the mine tailings to oil and hydraulic fluids leaked from machines. When this soil runs off into surrounding areas, it carries with it all of these various pollutants.
When we looked at this issue, one of the ideas we had was this: “What if we could stabilize the soil throughout the mining area?” Our thoughts were that if we could find a way to protect and solidify the surface of the ground, then we could make it impermeable to the damaging effects of all of this industrial traffic.
We went to work. What we came up with was a powerful acrylic polymer emulsion specifically engineered to bond soil particles together. We named this product DirtGlue®, for that is literally what it does – it “glues” dirt particles together to form a tough, durable crust that prevents soil erosion.
If we go back to our example of the mining operation, we can see the impact that DirtGlue® can have. Applied to the soil area surrounding the mine, DirtGlue® can prevent the destructive impact of all those machines. Instead of tearing up the ground beneath them, the vehicles can now safely travel on a stabilized, hardened surface. No more erosion. No more run off. No more destruction. The stockpiles and tailings dams also can be stabilized so as not to erode or move and so as not to give of dust.
Like we said, we wanted to offer the world a solution to soil erosion that could be applied virtually anywhere that a potential situation could arise. When we formulated DirtGlue®, we did so in a way to make it very easy to apply and with particular synthetic properties to make it highly water, wind, and UV resistant. If we were to quickly look at another one of the leading causes of soil erosion – construction and development – we can see how powerful this soil treatment can be. Let’s imagine for a moment that a new shopping center is being built. This center is being constructed only a couple miles from an important river. As soon as all of those heavy construction machines start moving around in that plot of land, clearing space for the new buildings, we have a major disruption in the soil. Service roads going in and out of the construction site quickly become massive conduits of erosion. Soil is tracked out of the area, deposited on nearby roadways, then washes into the river during every rain storm. Luckily, these access roads, and much of the construction site itself, can be protected. A quick and easy application of DirtGlue® using conventional hydroseeding equipment can lock those soil particles together and prevent degradation.
As you can see, DirtGlue® can be applied to help address soil erosion in a variety of areas. We did this with a purpose in mind: to help be a part of a solution to our nation’s soil erosion issues. Let’s face it, it’s not realistic to think that we will stop building. We live in an ever-expanding world. Development is a part of our evolution. Neither we will stop mining, stop building roads, or depart from agriculture. But we can take steps to do these things safer, with the environment and the health of our soil in mind. Global Environmental Solutions is committed to being part of the solution. DirtGlue®, along with our other products, has arisen with this intention: to help make positive change in the world.
We hope that you will join us in the movement to bring increased awareness to the health of one of our most precious resources – our soil. If FDR was right, and we believe he was, then it is our collective duty to take action.
Have questions about soil protection, DirtGlue®, or any of the other products and services Global Environmental Solutions provides? Feel free to contact us today. It is our mission, and our pleasure to help you.