Our Most Valuable Resource is the SOIL

How are you protecting your property’s soil? Or rather, what’s the value in thinking about how to protect your property’s soil?

Let’s start with a quote:

“Essentially, all life depends upon the soil… There can be no life without soil and no soil without life; they have evolved together.” – Dr. Charles Kellogg, Soil Scientist & Chief of Bureau for Chemistry & Soils at USDA

What is the importance of healthy soil? Let us count the ways:

1. Soil is the base of healthful plant growth. Keeping the soil in place around the property is imperative due – at the root level – to the maintenance of both the natural and planted landscape and how it serves the function of healthy terrain. Healthy soil literally supports the forests, wetlands, jungles, prairies and grasslands that aide in your land, and the planet’s amazing vegetative biodiversity. It may seem elementary, but we’ll point it out anyway… Plants provide food, fuel, animal feed, medicine, and raw materials for clothing, household goods and other life essentials.

2. Plants in turn help prevent soil erosion. This feeds into the sentiment included in the last entry. Healthy soil leads to healthy plants, and healthy plants lead to a healthy, strong landscape. You want to keep your soil in place because it is the base of literally everything on your property. It’s not just a matter of keeping your garden from washing out. It’s a matter of keeping the integrity of any buildings on the property in optimal operative capacity as well. If the soil moves, your foundation can move. If your foundation moves, look out!

3. Erosion is the loss of soil from wind or water. So that erosion often stems from a large influx of water. Soil is imperative in working as a conduit of providing available water in appropriate quantities to sustain life. Soil and the vegetation it supports, as we’ve outlined above, catch and distribute rainwater and play an important role in the water cycle and supply. Soil distribution at the core can impact rivers, lakes, and streams; changing their shape, size, capacity and direction – which ultimately effects the properties that they run through or abut.

4. Controlling pollution is necessary. Quality soil can help. Generally speaking water absorption and filtration properties of soil play are imperative in reducing pollution from chemicals in pesticides and other compounds that jeopardize surrounding ecological environments.

5. Soil provides both the foundation and base materials for buildings, roads and other built infrastructure. Please, read on…

This is where Global Environmental Solutions comes into play. We literally started the business based on our desire to spend our days playing with soil and figuring out ways to best manage it with quality and the utmost care.

When it comes to soil – your most valuable asset – and taking care of it so that it can best serve your property, the biggest challenge of protecting your site’s soil is physically keeping it onsite.

GES provides solutions against soil loss.

The tagline of our key product DirtGlue is, “holding the earth together.” This is quite literally what we do. Keeping your soil in place can be accomplished by using an assortment of GES products (such as DirtGlue® polymer and DustLess®) to prevent wind and water erosion [sediment, and dust]. We’re not your typical suppressant solution (hello water) that you continuously need to reapply to keep your environment strong and healthy – we’ve worked up solutions that are tried and true and derived from environmentally benign compounds that best serve the environment while keeping your valuable soil in place. The applications we provide are solutions that target the issues that pertain to your own unique project/environment.

In short, GES Products protect your site’s soil from:

• Dust (your soil is too dry/arid and is getting swept away by wind and/or traffic, etc.)
• Sediment (your soil is victim to outside sources in the surrounding environment infiltrating your soil’s integrity)
• Erosion (your soil is too wet, subject to rain events and runoff, the environmental stimuli which are washing it away)
• And more

How do each of these things impact the surrounding environment?

Dust can be hazardous to the health of vegetation, human life, and ecosystems at large. It can cut down on the integrity of “sound” structure and landscaping and also cause visibility issues depending on what the site’s application is. Dust is more than just a nuisance, dust is a known killer. It’s best to keep it in place, or stop it from being a thing at all.

Sediment can clog drainage structures which leads to erosion, corrosion, mold, rot, etc. You don’t want any of this. It can also effect surrounding vegetation and the proper development of plants, as well as causing detriment to surrounding waterways and aquatic life. It’s not always easy to pinpoint, but it’s easier to control when managed.

Erosion literally washes the soil away and can damage property values and the integrity of the surrounding environment. Erosion can lead to dust, and sediment as addressed above. Once it starts, it’s hard to combat, so it’s important to consider it from the design phase of a project and utilizing remedial effort ideas as a means of addressing the “what ifs” of mother nature, surrounding environmental stimulus/factors, etc.

Let’s get back to Dr. Kellogg’s quote for a moment. Let’s look at the opening: “Essentially, all life depends upon the soil…” We take it to heart. And you should too. Life depends on the soil. Think about it. Think about where you are right now. Think about the structure you’re residing in at this very moment. Think about the path you took to get there. Think about the earth and the role we all play in helping it work best for us – and itself.

Global Environmental Solutions: For the earth, with the earth in mind.

Pathway Construction Pt. 2

Antiquated HVAC

Alright, welcome to Part Two of our Creating Pathways That Last series. In our last installment (click here to read), we gave a general overview of pathway construction and posed a number of questions to get you thinking about best practices, general material makeup, challenges to consider, and potential goals (pre and post production) for your unique install.

Today we’ll run through some thoughts and questions that we’ve been presented over our decades of experience in constructing sound pathways with our own Polymer Pavement System product/solution. We hope, in outlining these questions and considerations, that you’ll be better prepared to make a more educated decision on what direction you’d like to take with your project. That said, we’re always available to answer any further questions you may have!

Let’s get started.

Pathway Construction

Performance testing and soil particle engineering:

Our experience and understanding of soil structure helps us evaluate aggregates for long term pathway traffic. Each sample submitted to our lab goes through a rigorous testing protocol.  Proprietary test methods help determine the longevity of an aggregate.  In some areas, we can even use this science to engineer aggregates to have the right composition of soil particles.

Are there color options for pathway aggregate?

In some cases aggregate can be chosen for color. Stabilized crushed stone and decomposed granite come naturally in varied colors.  Colorations of aggregates are derived from the natural weathering from soil and rock particles in various regions. DirtGlue polymer (binder/stabilizer) does not change the color.   This allows the aesthetics of the natural material with the stabilized properties that provide lifespan, low/no maintenance and functionality similar to asphalt or concrete.  The natural colors rather than the black of asphalt help minimize the heat island effect.

Will freeze/thaw cycles ruin my stabilized pathway?

In colder climates, when water is present in the soil/aggregate freeze/thaw cycles are a definitely a concern. On properly constructed Polymer Pavement stabilized pathways the effects of freeze/thaw can be eliminated or minimized through proper surface geometry and proper drainage applications.   It is common to see cracking with concrete or other rigid pavements because they resist the movement of the cycle unless well drained and properly shaped.  Polymer Payment has a very slight amount of flex which eliminates expansion joints.

Will Polymer Pavement damage my plants and trees?

The Polymer Pavement System poses no threat to plants and trees.   This technology is non-toxic and can be used right up to the edge of planting areas.

Sustainability/LEED® potential:

Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) by The US Green Building Council is a third party verification of green building practices.  Pathways of natural aggregates such as decomposed granite, gravel(s), and crushed stone stabilized with the Polymer Pavement System may potentially help earn LEED points towards certification.

Reduced heat island effect/Solar reflectance:

When asphalt surfaces retain heat in an urban environment it is called the Heat Island Effect.  Lighter colored aggregates can reflect solar rays reducing the heat retained in the pathway surface. This is measured by the Solar Reflectance Index. Reference – LEED Code- SS 7.1 Heat Island Non-Roof.

Non-hazardous materials:

The Polymer Pavement System puts no VOCs into the air so no air quality issues and no respiratory issues will be experienced.  The products used in this technology are non-toxic, and non-hazardous according to US EPA test methods.  These products contain no chlorides and no acids (thus, they’re non-corrosive).

Use of local/regional materials:

Aggregates obtained locally for the construction project are considered local/regional materials and can earn points for a reduced carbon footprint. Reference – LEED Code- MR 5 Regional Materials.

Recycled content:

The Polymer Pavement System can be used to stabilize recycled materials such as asphalt or concrete grindings, glass, and even metal scoria. Reference – LEED Code- MR 4 Recycled Content.

Recyclable pathways:

While not a LEED category, aggregate stabilized using the Polymer Pavement System is non-toxic and can be reused in many other areas when its service as a pathway has run its course.

Natural aggregates vs. concrete and asphalt:

Natural pathway materials may not be suitable for every scenario, but neither are concrete and asphalt. Polymer Pavement can meet performance standards required of concrete and asphalt.

Accessibility:

To comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), pathways must meet standards for firm, non-slip surfaces. While The National Center on Accessibility (NCA) does not officially approve any product, the Polymer Pavement System can be a recommended natural surface when used in proper design. The Polymer Pavement System can be applied/installed to meet testing requirements for slip friction.

Longevity/Lifespan:

Most natural aggregates vary in durability, but tend to be composed of harder rock particles that can make pathways last for decades with proper design.

Trail potential:

Wilderness trails pose unique requirements on designers and trail builders. Site conditions, including water flow and limited access to water for installation, along with heavy traffic, make these paths a challenge. Polymer Pavement can provide an application that is considered permanent in the same vain that asphalt is considered permanent.

Driveways and parking:

With proper design, the Polymer Pavement System can meet most municipal requirements for driveway and parking surfaces.

Fire lane Support:

With proper design, Polymer Pavement will meet or exceed load bearing requirements needed to support firetrucks and other rescue vehicles.

These are all but a handful of things to consider when you’re plotting your impending pathway project. Give us a shout if you’d like a helping hand or have any further questions that we can answer for you!

GES: For the earth, with the earth in mind.

Soil Erosion

GES Graphic

Soil erosion caused by construction activities is becoming an increasingly critical issue affecting the health of our environment. According to a scholarly article published by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the potential for significant erosion on heavily disturbed construction sites is up to 100 times greater than on agricultural land. The impacts on the environment from this level of soil erosion are profound. As the research article states, “Unless adequate measures are taken to prevent this abnormal, highly accelerated soil removal, it becomes the most visible and damaging factor in the deterioration of soil quality and the environmental quality of urban areas.”

A reading of this article yields the following synopsis:

When large tracts of land are eroded, massive amounts of sediment wreak havoc on the surrounding environment. This sediment builds up in crucial drainage areas. When this occurs, the flow capacity of the drainage system is reduced and flooding results. In urban areas, the loss of proper drainage means that excess water enters sewer systems, putting huge strain on the infrastructure of these systems. As water builds up in places that it was not designed to be, damage occurs to buildings and structures. Roads become swamped and traffic issues are exacerbated.

These sediment flows have an equally (if not worse) impact on the surrounding natural environment. Excess sediment causes natural waterways to become turbid. Turbidity blocks necessary sunlight from penetrating through the water to provide the energy needed for underwater vegetation to engage in photosynthesis. As plants get choked out, many marine species lose precious habitat. Oxygen levels are also reduced, making life more difficult for fish and marine life. Excess nutrients from top soil being washed into these areas results in eutrophication, a condition in which excess phosphorus and nitrogen create harmful blooms of unwanted biological growth.

At a financial level, excess soil erosion costs taxpayers millions, as costs of removing soil from roads, drainage systems, and culverts mound up. There are also large costs involved with damage from flooding.

The paper concludes with the following statement:

“The effects of erosion on construction sites continue to menace society both from on-site and off-site damages. Preventing soil-related problems before they occur is easier and more cost effective than correcting them later. Communities need to work with developers, contractors, and local governments to limit compaction and soil loss during construction operations.”

This article really hit home with us here at Global Environmental Solutions. We are deeply committed to help these environmental catastrophes through our work developing ground-breaking solutions to the issue of soil erosion. If you want to learn more about how our specifically engineered DirtGlue® polymer works to bond soil particles together to prevent soil erosion, please take a look at this article for more helpful information.

If we are to prevent more significant damage to our urban environments, our natural environments, and our municipal and federal budgets, we need to do more to control soil erosion. We are proud to say that we are working hard here at Global Environmental Solutions to inform and advocate on this important issue.

If you have questions on how our environmentally-sustaining products can work to help you protect the areas in which you live and/or work, feel free to reach out today.

Creating Pathways That Last

Equestrian Dust Control

Creating Pathways That Last (Part One of Two)

So You Want or Need a Pathway.

First question: What are your goals?

There are likely multiple. We understand.

At the root level the three most common goals we hear about are:

  • Functionality – controlled terrain
  • Aesthetically appealing
  • Constructed to last

 

What makes up various pathway types and what are the common issues?

Natural pathways come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The first thing to consider is the traffic placed upon the pathway. A very crowded botanical garden path or a maintenance vehicle access road will require different support than a lightly used foot trail. A pathway – in engineering terms – must be designed to provide the correct amount of load bearing as well as shear strength to support the traffic placed upon the surface (be sure to consider the frequency of this traffic as well). This load bearing and shear strength requirement can be met naturally using the structure of the aggregate or with chemicals and geosynthetics. Soil particle structure, depth and slope of the pathway surface, natural makeup or man-made construction of the base layer, and strength of the soil’s natural binding can all increase load bearing and shear strength. When these elements are incorrect in a pathway the result can yield:

  • Reduced longevity
  • Rutting
  • Erosion from traffic
  • Dust
  • Reduced accessibility for users

Common questions:

What is or what will the pathway be made of? Examples:

  • Decomposed granite
  • Crushed stone
  • Gravel
  • Sand (easy now…)

How high is the load bearing and shear strength of the pathway?

This is an incredibly important aspect as it pertains to erosion and how to combat it before it becomes an issue.

Speaking of erosion…

 

What does weather do to the pathway?

Natural pathways can be appealing. Porosity of natural materials allow water to percolate down into the soil. This can allow the path to manage some storm water and also keeps the surface cooler, reducing the heat island effect. The type of aggregate and slope of the pathway’s surface layer, will affect how the path responds to water. When these elements are incorrect the result will be reduced longevity due to rain creating:

  • Rutting
  • Erosion
  • Mud
  • Washout

 

Plan on routine maintenance.

All natural materials will develop loose surface rock particles which is part of the natural look. It reminds users that the path is not concrete or asphalt. Many natural materials can appear to be very stable after the initial installation, but will continually produce greater amounts of loose rock ever more quickly due to weather/aging. If there is too much loose rock, this will create much more maintenance and result in a renovation too quickly. If clay the pathway will be muddy during wet seasons and dusty during dry seasons.

That brings us to what the pathway is constructed of from the aggregate particle structure and soil engineering standpoint.

Materials such as decomposed granite, crushed granite, or other types of crushed stone are considered “soils/aggregates.” These aggregates contain soil particles such as sand, silt, and clay, along with gravel or rock elements. Soil particles are like the DNA of the pathway. They decide how your pathway will perform. Soil structure is the composition and arrangement of particles and pores; the open voids that occur between and within soil particles. If base and slope conditions are constructed properly, then soil structure will determine the load bearing and shear strength, or traffic resistance, of the pathway.

Clay is the only soil particle that has cohesion without water. Clay particles give cohesion for load bearing and shear strength, but when the concentration of clay particles becomes too high, or the moisture content becomes too high it will destabilize and become muddy. Sand and rock particles provide a more sound structure. The amount and size of rock particles, angularity, and hardness will change the load bearing strength of the pathway.

Regardless of the challenges that a pathway will pose, there’s are ways to make the makeup of the path and the environment around it manageable and built to last. Global Environmental Solutions has a couple of products in its environmentally friendly arsenal that will make any job easier – at the outset, or from the maintenance vantage points. Learn more about our DirtGlue® polymer, our DGE Polymer Pavement System, and more. Stay tuned for our second installment of our pathway series which will dwell on evaluating your pathway construction and the substrate that makes it what it is, environmental challenges, and ADA compliance thoughts.

Until then, give us a shout to discuss any of your unique pathway projects and we’ll consult some solid ways to increase the performance, longevity, and quality of the area in question – from the planning phase, through existing pathways that are in need of a managerial “upgrade.” Reach out to GES today! We’re here to answer any and all of your questions and our products are for the earth, with the earth in mind!

Spring Forward with DirtGlue®

Dirtglue

Spring is around the corner. And, what’s better than thinking ahead? That’s what we do here at Global Environmental Solutions. We like to introduce products that provide longevity and purpose while not taking away from the integrity of the surrounding environment.

That said, what’s one thing that contractors, landscapers, and homeowners have in common with regard to thoughts on departing snowbanks? Vegetation. What a landscape looks like from an aesthetic and functional standpoint as it pertains to the plants that reside there.

For gardeners, they often start their seedlings in their basement and/or greenhouse to get a head start on germination of their crops. But how do you get a head start on your landscape, or, rather, ensure that the planting you’re doing will “stick,” and yield positive results? And further, how do you prepare the land your set to plant on to “stay in place,” and avoid washout, etc.?

The answer: tackifiers. The act/art of keeping soil managed and “in its place.”

That said, the biggest challenge for hydroseeders is finding the right solution for their tackifying needs. Spring brings with it a whole lot of rain, and if you’re subjecting yourself to potential failure from washouts and erosion that the spring rains will create. Without forethought about a good tackifier, you’re setting yourself to be way behind when fruitful vegetation is prime to set in and take hold.

DirtGlue®.

What’s that you say?

DirtGlue®. Global Environmental Solutions proprietary product that, quite simply, holds the earth in place.

That facts as they relate to hydroseeding and getting a jumpstart on your spring projects:

  • DirtGlue eliminates erosion and washouts in hydroseeding applications
  • Using DirtGlue polymer emulsion instead of your regular tackifier is a much more effective solution to prevent washouts from runoff and to accelerate germination.
  • The unique bonding capabilities of our polymer technology keep soil, seeds, nutrients, and cellulose mix in place during heavy rains and extreme run-off situations.

What is DirtGlue®?

DirtGlue® polymer emulsion is a powerful, high-tech soil stabilization bonding agent specifically engineered to bond soil particles together. A non-hazardous product, DirtGlue® polymer contains no harmful chemicals, will not adversely affect people, animals or aquatic life.

By employing the power of DirtGlue®, you’re cutting out costly and overly time-consuming maintenance that comes with reapplications of whatever solution you’re utilizing right now. Touchups are relatively standard in the industry, but with DirtGlue® polymer on your side, you avoid these “costs” (monetary and time) and ensure stronger, manageable soil fit for any job you’re looking to perform. It also eliminates dust, which is often a byproduct of working in any environment.

DirtGlue® polymer combined with your hydroseeding mix holds water in the soil longer (greenhouse effect) and protects the soil and plants from rapid dehydration. Benefits proven through extensive testing include:

  • 2-5 days earlier germination
  • more than a 20% higher germination rate of grasses
  • Reduction in soil losses due to strong precipitation (sediment control)
  • Prevention of loss of fines due to wind erosion (dust control)
  • Elimination of washouts

DirtGlue® is also the key component in our CompoMulch™ product.

CompoMulch™ enables:

  • Even application
  • Faster coverage over larger areas
  • Faster, more complete germination and sustained nutrient release for long-term growth

Benefits of using CompoMulch™:

  • Reduces water usage and helps retain available moisture
  • Reduces erosion and the effects of erosion
  • Improved plant growth
  • Binds soil, seed and mulch mediums
  • Fully biodegradable (organic in fact)
  • Prevents washouts even in the severest weather

CompoMulch™ hydromulch is a custom blended hydromulch that contains 50% sterilized compost/humus mixed with special blend of vegetable fiber (no paper, no wood – which is common in most hydromulch solutions on the market).

At the root of it all is DirtGlue®. If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. But don’t wait too long. Time is of the essence, and forward thinking leads to forward progress. Contact Global Environmental Solutions today and spring forward with DirtGlue®. Let’s work together to get better control over that project you’ve got percolating.

Our position with the many products we offer is simple. They’re: For the earth, with the earth in mind.