While having brunch with some friends last week, I was excited to see that our beverages were served with biodegradable straws. We all raised our drinks to toast the café for being so environmentally responsible. Until… we all realized the drinks themselves had been served in plastic cups! OOPS! It seems that examples like this are all around us.
Whether it’s a business, industry, community or consumer, we all tend to latch on to the “hip” thing that all the cool kids are doing. In the solar industry however, we are seeing corporations not only talk the talk, but walk the walk when it comes to sustainability. In addition to leading the way with renewable and sustainable energy solutions, developers of large solar farms are using sustainable products like Filtrexx SiltSoxx during construction. Filtrexx SiltSoxx are made in the United States and contain 100% recycled organic FilterMedia. SiltSoxx are installed on the ground around the perimeter of the project with no ground disturbance or trenching required. Then, during rain events the SiltSoxx filter sediment-laden stormwater run-off and other pollutants before they leave the construction site. This protects rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands and neighboring properties within the watershed. The FilterMedia within the sock is 100% bio-based and sourced both locally and regionally. This creates a huge carbon footprint reduction when compared to using geo-textile fabrics like Silt Fence, to treat sediment and stormwater on a job site.
In fact, using just 200 feet of 8” SiltSoxx on a project is equal to taking 1 car off the road!
Plus, it’s much easier to clean up when construction is complete. The SiltSoxx fabric can simply be cut, and the FilterMedia raked into the final grade by hand. Call it a “low-impact” removal – something that is critical when working next to the newly installed and expensive solar panels. Of course, Filtrexx SiltSoxx can be used on more than just solar projects. Soxx have been popping up on natural gas pipelines, powerlines, residential home construction, road projects and other earth disturbing activities around the country. I guess you could say that the cool kids are on to something hip. But something tells me that Soxx are here to stay. Just in case, be sure to ask your design engineers, project owners, general contractors, and site contractors to use SiltSoxx on their next project!
Nick has a Bachelor of Science from The Ohio State University. He has been with Filtrexx for over 13 years and is now managing sales for the Northeast region. He has over 5 years of experience in SWPPP writing/review, stormwater inspections, and BMP installation. In his free time, he enjoys hiking and kayaking with his girlfriend and playing with his Boxer puppy Rudi.
“The 5 Second Rule” regarding the cleanliness of fallen food, the Great Wall of China being visible from space, and shaving thickens hair - are all myths. Food is contaminated by the amount of bacteria on the floor, not how long the food stays there.The Great Wall of China is not visible to the naked eye from space (check it out for yourself on Google Earth); and put away those razors. Your hair is not going to grow in thicker. These are known as urban legends.But this is not the only place legends abound; there are plenty of myths when it comes to sediment control techniques. Let’s shed some light on common myths about sediment control.
Myth – Fiber rolls filter stormwater
No, they do not, and we can prove it. You know the story of the Three Little Pigs. What did one of the pigs use to build his house? Straw. Why, because it filters water? No. Why do many residents in developing countries still use straw on their roofs? Because it, more or less, keeps the water out. Compacted straw does not filter, but rather repels, water. The job of fiber rolls is to slow the flow by creating a miniature dam. When water velocity slows, particles settle out.
Myth – Fiber rolls rolled-out on the surface are effective
If fact or fiction was determined by popular vote, this statement would be true based on the overwhelming number of construction sites where it occurs. It is very common to find fiber rolls surrounding a site that is neither keyed-in (trenched 2-3”) nor staked down. Based on field testing, improperly installed fiber roll worsens the turbidity that is caused by turbulence of water jetting under the fiber roll.
Myth – Doubling up fiber roll and silt fence provides better protection
Sorry, false again. It mostly just wastes your money. Remember, the goal of these devices is to slow the flow, not filter. When properly installed, fiber roll or silt fence sufficiently slows the flow by itself. No significant velocity reduction is gained by doubling up the two devices.
Myth – Fiber roll and compost socks do the same thing
This is a half-truth. It is true that they both slow the flow causing sedimentation to occur. However, compost socks do something that fiber rolls do not do. They filter the water and remove sediment particles and other pollutants. These pollutants become entrained in the filter media. Compost socks are much heavier than fiber roll and become heavier as they are saturated with water and fill up with captured particles. Therefore, compost socks are “self-weighting” and will conform well to the surface without the need to key them in and stake them down. This allows compost socks to be used effectively on paved surfaces. When it is not secured, fiber roll actually will float on water.
Myth – Perimeter controls only need to be installed once and will last the duration of the project
This is the belief held by most project estimators. They typically will only include one initial installation of perimeter controls in their budgets and schedules even for multi-year projects. All BMPs need maintenance. Fiber roll, compost socks, and silt fence will all take a beating from the sun, wind, and construction activities. They will eventually wear out and need to be replaced.In addition, as site conditions change, the perimeter control strategy will also need to change. Fiber roll might have been a perfectly good sediment control measure during the grading phase, but compost socks may be more appropriate during the vertical phase.
John Teravskis is a Senior Compliance Specialist with WGR Southwest, Inc. in Lodi, California. He is a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control, a Qualified SWPPP Developer and a Qualified SWPPP Practitioner. John is also a Trainer of Record for California’s QSP/QSD program. John is the editor of WGR’s Monthly Dirt which is a free newsletter for those having to comply with California’s Construction General Permit.
Fall weather not only brings out sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes, but also rain, wind and leaves, increasing the potential for flooding along roadways.
Residents and municipal agencies can play a vital role in making sure storm drain systems perform optimally using sustainable management practices.Rainwater often carries trash, sediment, pesticides and oils that end up in our waterways. Not only do we get our drinking water from water bodies, but we also use our local waterways as a recreational tool and it is a valuable natural habitat.
One of the best ways to prevent pollutants from entering our local waterways is to remove them from streets before the elements carry them into the storm drainage system. Street sweeping is particularly important during heavy leaf drop which can result in debris blocking stormwater facilities and causing local flooding if not addressed.Residents can pick up yard waste and debris from property.Local agencies can ensure nearby storm drains are free of leaves by scheduling street sweeping appropriately and plan for full trash capture systems. It is just as important to maintain and inspect full trash capture systems to make sure they are in working order.As we are ending summer this is a good time to remind agencies to inspect, perform light maintenance if needed and re-order replacement cartridges for their StormExx systems.
StormExx Clean trash capture devices treat stormwater runoff at the street/inlet level, capturing debris such as leaves, trash and sediment before entering the storm system. StormExx Clean trash capture devices are engineered and patented for the treatment of stormwater runoff. Our catch basin inserts meet and/or exceed stormwater best management practices (BMPs) and best available technology. These units are certified and included in the Capture System List of Trash Treatment Control Devices by the California State Water Resources Control Board. A combination of proper street cleaning, resident awareness and maintenance of StormExx systems will ensure cleaner storm drainage systems and a reduction of pollutants in nearby water bodies.
Live in California and want to know more about stormwater management? Take a look at our Storm Water Awareness Week workshops that we’ll be hosting throughout California during the week.
Evangelina Paoluccio P.E., QSD/P is the Engineering Manager at Inventive Resources, Inc. She has over fourteen years of design experience in drinking water, wastewater and storm water systems and is a registered Civil Engineer in California.
How would you answer these three questions about your business risk and environmental sustainability goals?
- Is your company widely viewed as "sustainable” in your market and are you ready to reduce your business and market risk?
- Have you chosen the most environmentally sustainable erosion and sediment control products available to maintain your competitive edge and satisfy your stakeholder’s desire for verified evidence of your sustainability?
- Can your current erosion and sediment control supplier provide 3rd party verified, hard evidence of the sustainability of your product choices that enhance your corporate sustainability mission?
Choosing Filtrexx, the most environmentally sustainable erosion and sediment control products on the market, can help you with all three of these questions. It will ultimately enhance your sustainability reputation and reduce your marketplace risk in today’s sensitive and competitive business environment.We keep wood waste out of the landfill stream, put it in our SiltSoxx and other products and thereby reduce your carbon footprint.It’s all about making your business more attractive and competitive.
Being seen as “unsustainable” is becoming a more important business and financial risk you might consider mitigating for long-term business growth by partnering with Filtrexx and EcoPractices, our 3rd party environmental benefits verification partner. Businesses choosing the most sustainable products and partners are increasingly seen as lower financial and market risks by customers, the public, investors and other stakeholders. Satisfying all of them by partnering with Filtexx and EcoPractices to meet your most sensitive environmental challenges is smart business.Up your game. Let Filtrexx help you shine in your stakeholder’s eyes!
Jeffrey Schmitz serves as the Business Development Manager for Filtrexx International. He is charged with helping large customers across the US in the oil and gas, utility and construction industries achieve their sustainability and environmental goals with the use of Filtrexx products and EcoPractices, our 3rd party environmental benefits verification partner. He has 13 years in the building materials industry, a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business from South Dakota State University and an MBA from Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.