Silt Fences: Winning the Fight Against Runoff
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high winds can make the filter fabric deteriorate quickly, blow over, or knock it down completely.
“Silt fence can be a joke on construction sites,” says Carpenter.
“When installed improperly, it is often seen just blowing in the wind, or sagging and broken down. Some specifiers won’t utilize silt fence on their sites because too often it is installed improperly, and not maintained. An ineffective silt fence is a waste of money.”
Even after you’ve placed the best silt fence around your site, and it passed inspection and is doing its job, you can’t simply walk away. You will need to inspect its entire length frequently, especially after each rain event to make sure that it remains intact and functional.
If part of the silt fence is damaged in a rain event and you choose not to do timely inspections, all your hard work will have been in vain. Should an inspector visit your site before you get there to do repairs, and sees t h e d a m a g e d fence and sediment offsite, you will be fined.
The EPA suggests that if you f i n d g a p s o r tears, you should repair or replace the fabric immediately. Remove accumulated sediments from the fence base when the sediment reaches one-third to one-half the fence height. Remove sediment more frequently if accumulated sediment is creating noticeable strain on the fabric; the fence might fail from a sudden storm event. When you remove the silt fence, remove the accumulated sediment as well.
While you may never be totally victorious over the forces of nature, with the proper silt fence installed on your site, you can at least say that you’ve accomplished the mission of successful sediment control.