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Construction Site Storm Water Pollution Prevention – Erosion and Sediment Control

  • Published
  • By Stephanie Duke
  • 82nd Civil Engineer Squadron environmental technician
Construction activities that disturb land, exposing soil and sand, pose a potential threat to Sheppard's storm water runoff.  Runoff from construction sites, if not properly managed, will contain sediment that impacts North Texas surface waters. These sediments can alter the natural habitat and water chemistry of water bodies and destroy established aquatic plant and animal life.  Sediment can build-up within the Sheppard AFB storm sewer system and can create a back-up of the storm water sewer system and pose a risk for flooding streets and damaging buildings. 

For these reasons, sediment and erosion control at construction sites is vital to protecting storm water runoff.  It is especially important for the public on Sheppard AFB to understand how sediment and erosion is controlled at construction sites.  This will enable the public to help monitor and report any deficiencies to the Sheppard AFB Environmental Department in a timely manner.  Educating the Sheppard AFB populace on how sediment and erosion is controlled around construction sites will enable reporting deficiencies before it becomes an issue.

Sediment and erosion run-off from construction sites is typically controlled utilizing silt fencing around the construction site to prevent exposed soils and debris from running off-site the construction site and enter into Sheppard AFB storm drains.  Silt fencing should be buried 4" under the ground surface so sediment cannot escape underneath the fence. The silt fences are usually anchored using metal or wooden stakes to keep the silt fences intact. Any damage, tears or collapsing sections of the silt fencing must fixed immediately.  Storm drain inlets within the construction site are typically protected using straw wattles, silt fencing or gravel/sand filters to assist in filtering sediment out of storm water prior to entering the storm drains.  If these storm water filtering devices begin to degrade then the contractor must replace the device immediately.

In some cases the storm water protection devices can degrade, fall apart and create clogs within the storm sewer.  Additionally, vehicles and equipment leaving the construction site cannot track dirt/debris offsite, as this exposes sediment to the storm sewer system.  Typically, construction sites will have a vehicle tire wash/sweep area at the egress/exit point from the site. The tire wash/sweep area usually consists of large rock aggregate to remove the dirt from the tires as vehicles exit the site. 

The Sheppard AFB community can assist in ensuring the quality of our storm water.  If any Airman or civilian observes damage to silt fencing, lack of sediment control, or other forms of illicit discharge at construction sites on base, they should report the incident to the 82nd CES Environmental Department at 676-2415.  Surface water, to which storm water discharges to, is the primary source for drinking water in our portion of the country.  Any contamination in the storm water poses a potential threat to such a vital, yet rapidly depleting natural resource.  Due to the continuing extreme drought conditions in North Texas, Sheppard AFB asks for all Airmen and civilians to assist Sheppard AFB protect Storm Water runoff.