Erosion Prevention in Construction

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 3:26 PM


When a new construction site is proposed, a survey of water runoff and erosion prevention is almost universally required. What does this mean? Who do we contact? What's the cost of this type of survey?

First, what does erosion control even mean in the context of new construction? The City of Portland defines it this way:

Erosion and Sediment Control. Erosion control is the process of preventing loosened soil from migrating off the development site, into a storm drain or into a water body.
So, what construction activities would cause the creation of loosened soil? Almost every aspect of building construction destroys and eliminates the natural adhesion of soil crusts and biota that constitute the living soil. Trucks dig ruts into the earth, machines dig and eliminate top soil and the final product sits on top of and encases the earth in cement. The construction process exposes unprotected soil to the elements and creates large amount of loose earth that can easily be blown away by the wind or washed away by water.

The eroded soil doesn't just disappear however. It travels in the air and settles in low areas as dust. If it was top soil, it is permanently displaced. Soil washed away by rain or runoff settles into our sewer systems, rivers and lakes. This leads to clogs, flooding and poor water quality down stream of the source.

To find more information in the City of Portland regarding contacts and cost of certification, one should contact:

Responsible Bureau Section:
Development Services Center
PO Box 8120
Portland, OR 97207-8120
503-823-7310

Site Development
PO Box 8120
Portland, OR 97207-8120
503-823-6892

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