What is Track-out?

Recently, the EPA published a number of statements declaring “track-out” as one of the biggest environmental violations within agriculture, construction, and mining. If you are unfamiliar with this term, you are not alone. In fact, one of the principal reasons the EPA has become increasingly vocal on this subject is to bring awareness to this often-overlooked issue.

In response to the growing trend to bring this issue into the spotlight, we offer this brief article to introduce you to the subject of track-out, explain the impact this can have on the environment when not managed properly, and how GES and its products such as DirtGlue® Industrial polymer have been specifically created to help safeguard industrial worksites from this hazardous and egregious violation.

Let’s begin with defining “track-out.” Simply put, track-out is the mud, soil, or other organic debris that gets carried out of a construction site, farm, or any other industrial area where the soil has been disturbed. As numerous vehicles, such as tractors, trucks, and trailers travel in and out of these areas each day, they track-out debris which then gets deposited outside of the work zones as it flings off of tire treads and mechanical components.

Ok, so what’s the big deal? Here’s the scoop…

As vehicles carry out and deposit this debris, it can find its way into storm drains, rivers, local watersheds, delicate grasslands, animal habitats…the list could go on. This is a particularly sensitive environmental issue when you consider that many industrial sites such as mines, quarries, or large farms are full of chemicals, fertilizers, and other compounds that pose a serious threat when they enter areas that they shouldn’t be in.

Although the EPA currently requires a SWPPP (Storm Water Pollution Protection Plan) to address the issue of stormwater, as it can sweep away pollutants from disturbed soil, the plan only really tackles the issue of track-out by embedding a requirement that each site have an exit pad that vehicles must cross as they leave the area.

Now, we’re not saying that an exit pad is a bad idea. Because when installed, used, and maintained properly, this can be a helpful measure. However, we would like to say that there is another, more advanced solution that goes straight to the root cause of this issue, which is the loose, disturbed soil itself.

Let’s pause for a second to ponder this question: If the loose soil is the root of this issue, then what if we could “un-loosen” the soil? What if the soil was firm and solid enough that it couldn’t be tracked-out?

It was this simple, yet profound realization that led us to developing DirtGlue®, a non-hazardous, high-tech bonding agent specifically engineered to bond soil particles together to form a tough, durable, three-dimensional matrix that functions like asphalt. As an environmentally-friendly product, DirtGlue® Industrial polymer contains no harmful chemicals, and will not adversely affect people, animals or aquatic life.

So let’s say that we’re beginning a new development project, and crews are moving in to begin to clear and grade the site. It goes without saying that this process will produce significant soil disruption. But now, imagine that we built a proper road into this new development area. We tamped and graded the soil perfectly, then applied DirtGlue® Industrial polymer to bond loose dirt making a stable, solid surface. What impact would this have? Well, you may have guessed it…it would significantly reduce track out. Effectively, by the time the construction vehicles reached the exit pad, they would have already had ample time to discharge any loose soil that they picked up in the active construction zone. The exit pad would then only have to take care of the small amounts of remnant left on the tires. As an added bonus, your development site will also look cleaner and more professional. It’s a win-win.

Since its inception, GES has been committed to producing the highest quality soil stabilization products to help buffer the environmental impacts of construction, mining, agriculture, and other forms of industrial enterprise. We take pride in what we do, knowing that when you choose GES, you are making a conscious, informed decision to take part in the growing movement of responsible, forward-thinking environmental management.

We hope that this article helped to raise your awareness of track-out, and provided you with some ease-of-mind knowing that doing your part to manage this environmental risk is as easy as picking up the phone and giving GES a call.