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.