The Midwest Floods of 2019

Preparing for the Worst by Learning from the Past

Spring flooding in the Midwest has caused incredible damage to cities, towns, and agriculture, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimating $37.3 billion in damages. The catastrophic floods in the Midwest and Plains states, reminds us of the Great Flood of 1927 and 1993. But we’ve learned that it’s the conditions and preparation that precede the flooding that determine how much damage will go unstopped.

Potential causes of massive flooding:
  • Snowpack and frost
  • Moisture level in soil
  • Streamflow and precipitation

These factors are all potential contributors to flooding. Precipitation in seven of nine Plains and Midwest states during fall of 2018 outweighed precipitation during fall of 1992. Similarly, eight of nine Plains and Midwest states had a wetter winter during 2018 and 2019 than in 1992 and 1993.

As the soil becomes saturated, it has trouble absorbing heavy rainfall, causing runoff into creeks and rivers.  As the rivers fill up, the potential catastrophic floods increase.

In 1993, a cluster of large thunderstorms, known to meteorologists as mesoscale convective systems, dropped an incredible amount of rain on the Midwest and Plain states. Conditions for rainfall like this most often depend on air temperature.

Surviving a Flood

Three lives have been lost due to the flooding in the Midwest this year, according to NOAA’s weather and climate disaster table of events. The Department of Homeland Security has tips for facing floods natural disasters.
  • Always evacuate if you are told to
  • Don’t drive around barricades
  • Stay off bridges
  • Avoid contact with flood water
  • Move to higher ground
The time to prepare for a flood is now. Know the flood risks in your area, make a plan, and subscribe to your community’s emergency warning system. Learn evacuation routes and plan ahead to protect your home and businesses.

Proven Solutions When Stormwaters Rise

According to NOAA , while states in the upper Mississippi and Missouri River basins (Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa), are at risk of flooding, states in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River and portions of California and Nevada are also at risk of minor floods.

Landslides, erosion, and overflow of water systems are all potential effects of large-scale flooding. Sediment left behind as a result of flood waters, reduces water quality affecting the water supply.
Flood waters can also contain debris and nutrients, which can affect the water quality, encouraging the growth of algae.

Controlling sediment dispersion with a turbidity curtain helps to control erosion, blocking sediment and protecting wildlife and surrounding vegetation. Curtains like this are used to keep bodies of water silt free and keeping the quality of water high.

Sandbags are a great way to limit the effects of flood waters at your home or business on a small scale. Made with either a high UV or burlap material, this material contains sand while limiting the flow of water. Water control bags like these are easy to move to areas in need. To inhibit the effects of flood, stack bags parallel to the flow with the top end of the bad folded under.

The Automatic Multibagger sanbag filling machine can fill three sandbags simultaneously. The machine is operated by three people, each at a filling station. Each operator fills a bag at one of the three chutes, releasing materials by depressing the foot pedal and stopping the flow of materials by releasing the pedal. The automatic sandbag machine can fill one bag every 10 seconds.

Using a flood barrier protection wall can save money and effort when preparing for a flood:
  • Saves money:  Using a barrier during flash flooding, storm surge, or mudslide, offers a large scale alternative to sandbags. 
  • Eliminates worry: Using self-erecting barriers can save time and worry when a storm threatens. Installation simply requires you unfold the barrier and fill. 
  • Utilizes space: The barrier can be used to divert stormwater around property, along a riverbank or slope. Space is often a commodity. With a flood barrier protection wall, one 100 foot section is equal to 8,000 sandbags. Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers offer another large scale solution to mitigating flood waters. 
Features of a bulk bag include either polypropylene-coated or uncoated fabric. Coated bulk bags inhibit moisture and prevent content shifting. Uncoated bags offer more flexibility. When preventing erosion, an uncoated bulk bag would be used for filtration.

Needs can vary when protecting your home or business from the effects of flood water. Contact GEI Works at +1-772-646-0597 to receive one-on-one assistance with all your flood prevention requirements.

Four Must-Have Bladder Tank Accessories

Maximize the many benefits of your collapsible bladder tank with GEI Works tank equipment accessories–easily protect both your location and the contents of your pillow tank.

Bladder Tanks are an extremely useful and versatile form of liquid storage. They fold flat when not in use, they fill up quickly, and are easily drained. They can range in size from 25 gallons to 210,000 gallons capacities for a variety of applications.

However, proper maintenance and best practices are important to ensure its longevity.

The following four bladder tank equipment accessories will help you get the most from your bladder tank, prepare for emergency situations, and protect your tank long term.

1. Ground Cloth for Tank and Ground Protection

Whether your collapsible tank is situated outdoors or indoors, it's important to protect the bladder tank to avoid punctures. Our protection fabric defends the pillow tank from abrasion on rough concrete or ground conditions.

Ground cloths are typically made from vinyl or PVC-coated fabrics, depending on the material of your tank. A variety of fabric thicknesses and weight are available for different liquids and ground conditions.

Each ground cloth can be specifically designed to fit the size of your collapsible bladder, to ensure the proper coverage and protection. A second cloth can even be used on top as a protection cover.

When it's time to set up your water bladder with the ground cloth, the first step is to clear the area. If placed indoors, clean the floor of dirt and trash. For bare ground, all rocks, twigs, and other outdoor debris should be cleared away and the ground leveled to ensure a suitable area for the bladder tank. Spread out the ground cloth where you want the pillow tank to rest, and then place the bladder tank centered on top.

2. Containment Berm for Spill Containment and Protection

Your pillow tank is on the ground cloth and ready to be filled. But now you’re worried about what could happen if it rips or tears. How can you contain any leakage and prevent a mess?

Placing the bladder in a containment berm can keep any leaks or spills from spreading beyond the initial placement area.

The aluminum angle containment berm has 1-foot walls to provide a large spill area in the event of a large accident. Both standard and heavy duty brackets are available for extra support. Fabrics range from PVC to Elvaloy, depending on the nature of the water bladder.

Similar to the ground cloth, each containment berm is specifically designed to fit the specifications of your tank equipment.

The berm isn’t a replacement for the ground cloth but an addition to your bladder protection system. The protection fabric is laid first with the containment berm on top. It still defends against abrasion, only for the berm now. Containment berms add an extra layer of protection against ground conditions and provide spill safety.

3. Tank Fittings for Best Use of Your Tank

In addition to protection supplies for your bladder tank, GEI Works also offers a wide range of materials and fitting types for most bladders.

There are a few questions you can ask to ensure you choose the proper fittings for your tank.

How are you planning to use your tank? Which pipes or hoses will connect? What are their sizes? What type of water flow do you need? Do you need to allow for a small or large volume of water? Do you need the water to stop at different intervals along the hose?

Proper tank fittings have a good seal during use, preventing leaks and spills.

Materials and Type of Tank Fittings
  • PVC
  • PE
  • CPVC
  • PP
  • Fitting Types
  • Ball Valves
  • Bulkhead Fittings
  • Manways
  • Gauges and Adapters
If you need any help choosing the best fittings for your tank, contact our water tank specialists at 772-646-0597 or Contact Us.

4. Tank Repair Kits for Patching a Bladder Tank

Despite all your preparations, the worst has happened – a small leak has formed in your water bladder. Luckily, GEI Works has the solution.

Our tank repair kit contains all the necessary supplies to patch your bladder.

  • Tank Fabric Patch
  • Seam Roller
  • Scissors
  • Sandpaper
  • Cement Glue
  • Resealable Bag
  • Patching Instructions

The process is deceptively simple.

Start by cutting the repair patch to cover the problem area with 2 inches available on each side. Clean and sand the area to ensure a good seal. Apply cement to the entire patch and repair section before attaching the patch in place. The seam roller prevents air bubbles and wrinkles from drying in place. Finally, apply more cement around the patch edges and allow it to dry completely.

Your collapsible bladder is ready for water again!

Remember These Bladder Tank Accessories

So remember, for the most effective use and protection of your collapsible tank, you need these bladder tank equipment accessories:

For help with these items, you can always contact our product specialists at 772-646-0597 or Contact Us today, and we will be happy to work with you.

See the entire collection of Collapsible Pillow Tanks and other bladder tank equipment available from GEI Works.

Introducing Two New Product Solutions for November

We are announcing two more new products this month. Can you guess what they are? Read below to find out what these products can do for you!

As our customers bring us new problems to solve, we look for new product solutions that can help. GEI Works has over a decade of experience in erosion control, water pollution prevention, facility management, and large scale storage. Our product and sourcing specialists are on a mission to constantly find new, innovative ways to help. As promised, we have two more new product solutions to announce for the month of November.

Dock Fenders – Heavy Duty Protection for Boats and Docks

The inflatable boat bumpers from GEI Works are built to last while protecting boats and docks from minor collision damage. They protect small boats, yachts, boat slips, and heavy use docks. Military and police patrol craft use boat fenders to protect their hulls during routine patrol stops. They can be installed horizontally or vertically, so fenders can also function as piling bumpers. They can even help as cushions while rafting several boats together.

All our dock fender product solutions are constructed from mold resistant, marine-grade black Elvaloy with a gray PVC cover. Each one has a Boston-style valve for inflation and deflation with a pump. Diameter options are 12, 18, and 24 inches with standard lengths available in 8, 10, or 12 feet. Custom lengths can be ordered for yachts, commercial boats, and research vessels. All inflatable boat bumpers also have seatbelt-grade nylon webbing with side release buckles.

The boat fenders have a number of appealing features for both seasonal and year-round sailors. They are designed for repeated inflations, so boaters and yachtsmen don’t need to worry about buying new fenders every year. Simply deflate the bumper, fold it up, and store until needed. The UV-resistant fabric contains marine life inhibitors, so they can be left in the water for long periods of time. Boat fenders also act as shock absorbers to prevent damage to the gelcoat and hull when coming into dock, regardless of boating experience.

FIBC Bulk Bags – Large Multi-Use Storage Containers

Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers (FIBC) are used in a variety of industries as product solutions for a number of applications. From grains and coffee to gravel and soil, these food grade bulk bags work well to hold and store large amounts of material. By connecting multiple units, they can even form a flood barrier. With so many uses, FIBC bulk bags make an excellent addition to our product line.

Three different construction models are available, each with different advantages and disadvantages. The most common style, U-Panel, features 3 body panels forming the bag body. One long fabric piece forms two sides and the bottom, while two smaller pieces make up the additional sides. As the industry standard, the U-Panel maintains its square shape when filled. The other models, 4-Panel and Circular, are constructed as their names imply. The 4-Panel uses 4 individual pieces to create bag sides, while the Circular has one tubular piece forming all sides. With more stitches in the sift-proof seams than the rest, the 4-Panel is more prone to seam failure but keeps the square shape better than any other model. The Circular style has the fewest stitches but is less likely to stay in a square shape when completely filled.

Beyond construction style, GEI Works offers other options as well. Capacities range from 2,200 to 4,000 lbs., depending on construction style and dimension. Either corner and cross-corner lift loops are used for transport by pallet jack or forklift. FIBC bulk bags can be either coated or non-coated for different applications and uses. For example, as a flood barrier, bags would need to be coated to reduce moisture intrusion. Coated bags are also necessary for our food grade bulk bags, as they use an FDA-approved 100% virgin polypropylene material. Uncoated bags work better for erosion control purposes, such as gravel bags, as they allow for filtration.

Visit our GEI Works website at to see more product solutions and follow us on Facebook to keep up with our latest news and updates. You can also read up on our previous new product announcement.

What will we launch next? Remember to come back to our blog again soon for more new product announcements!

NEW Product Solutions from GEI Works for October

What are these two new mystery products? Read below to find out!

At GEI Works, we are always on the look out for new ideas and answers to problems and issues plaguing our customers. With that in mind, moving forward we will have blog posts that will cover new products we’re bringing to you each month.

Follow our GEI Works Blog and Facebook page to hear more about our upcoming product to market announcements. GEI Works is proud to add two new products to our line during the month of October!

Steel Mobile Fuel Tank

Our mobile storage tank makes an ideal solution for the transportation of combustible Class III liquids, such as diesel fuel, motor oil, and liquid wastes. From agricultural areas and farms to industrial facilities and construction sites, these versatile mobile tanks are used for a variety of applications.  Emergency fuel storage during a crisis becomes easy to facilitate, and keeping far-flung equipment serviced and running is no longer a hassle.

GEI Works wants to provide the right portable fuel tank for every situation. To that end, we have both non-DOT and DOT-approved trailer models. Large farms, nurseries, and ranches may not require a highway-ready trailer, but they still need to get fuel to equipment throughout the acreage. Contractors with multiple job sites have equipment spread out all over the city that must be fully fueled for the day’s work. Our mobile fuel tanks are excellent environmental solutions to both scenarios.

One of the most exciting features of our mobile storage trailer is the round tank baffle system. Unlike square or elliptical tanks, the round design evenly distributes the stress of fuel surging during transportation. Depending on the size of the tank—500 or 1,000 gallons—we offer single and double baffle systems respectively. The baffle system slows the movement even more, adding yet another level of safety. Combined with all the other features and options, the mobile fuel tank is one of the best on the market today.

View our individual web pages for details on each mobile fuel tank model, size, and  specifications.

Oil Spill Containment Valve

The oil spill containment valve makes an exciting addition to our secondary containment line of products. GEI Works has always been committed to providing environmental solutions for the prevention and containment of oil spills both on land and in water. Designed to fit in most containment sumps and oil-water separators, the oil stop valve keeps spills and accidents from becoming major disasters.

The oil spill containment valve fits within an oil containment system as part of a water discharge system. Everything runs smoothly as long as only water flows through the discharge pipe. The moment oil enters the system, the valve seals itself off, blocking the spill from escaping. With only one moving part—the ballasted float—the oil containment valve works even during a blackout.

Custom sizes and options allow the oil stop valve to work almost anywhere. Sizing can range from 4” to 12”, and since oil spill prevention isn’t limited to just one area of the world, we offer both steel models and PVC models for the oil spill containment valve. For colder climates or areas with higher fire risks, steel construction provides more stability and a lower freezing possibility. We also have a freeze protection package option for both models.

Spill clean up and remediation are major concerns for a number of industries. Oil storage hubs and fuel transportation companies keep thousands of gallons of oil in their facilities at any one time. Military bases and utility companies make use of enormous amounts of oil. All it takes is one small mistake, and millions of dollars in fines and restitution are on the line. The oil containment valve adds another level of security to the oil containment system of each industry, saving time and money, as well as the environment.

We’re always proud to share our plans, ideas, and results with our customers and the community. For these and more of our environmental solutions, visit our webpage at

Check back with us in November to see what new product solutions we are releasing next!

Hurricane Essentials for Businesses

Prepare Your Company Today for Tomorrow’s Disasters

Hurricane season is in full swing with Florence on the East Coast, Isaac in the Caribbean, and Helene churning the Atlantic. Are you ready? 

During hurricane season, June 1st to November 30th, storm preparation is constantly on your mind, and one eye is always on the Atlantic. A hurricane supply list awaits when you walk into any store. There are also a number of guides and precautionary plans available, telling you how to equip your home, gather your hurricane supplies, and prepare your life.

But what about your business?

Photo: NASA
Businesses may require special equipment or perhaps just a larger supply of the usual items. Here are a few hurricane essentials to help your business weather the storm.

TarpsAs one of the most versatile hurricane essentials, tarps are excellent to have around for day-to-day use, in addition to storm preparation and recovery. Tarps can cover and protect equipment both indoors and outdoors, using tie-downs, bricks, sandbags, or other securing equipment. Roof damage can be protected during storm recovery. During clean-up, tarps are excellent for collecting and disposing of debris.

Sandbags In any potential flood areas around the building, such as low-lying areas of the parking lot or near ineffective drains, sandbags are one of the hurricane essentials needed during your flood preparation. Place filled sandbags parallel to the expected flow of water to keep areas as dry and clear as possible. In conjunction with specialized door blocks, sandbags can also be used indoors to help seal water entry points in to the facility. GEI Works offers a number of sizes depending on your needs.

Flood Barriers – Larger facilities may need something a bit more heavy duty than sandbags. The flood wall offers easy installation and more protective coverage. It would take 8,000 sandbags to equal one 100-foot section of flood barrier. Simply unfold the wall where needed and fill with heavy sediment (sand, gravel, crushed stone, etc.). If necessary, the barrier can even be made permanent by using concrete. Now you’re ready to stand against the water. 

Safety CabinetsMany businesses deal with some kind of flammable or corrosive materials such as pesticides, paint, acids, and more. These liquids should always be kept properly stored in any situation; however, during a major storm, it is paramount to ensure hazardous materials are kept safe, making the right cabinet one of your hurricane essentials. There are cabinets specifically designed for different liquids and hazardous materials. Find the one best suited for your business and keep everything secure.

Spill Kits – If the worst happens and your hazardous materials escape during or after the storm, spill kits are one of the hurricane essentials to keep nearby. The kits contain all the pads, socks, bags, and other clean-up equipment you might need. If absolutely necessary, some of the absorbents in your kit could also be used to help shore up small water leaks during the storm. Be ready for any circumstance.

Fuel TanksMany businesses and facilities have company vehicles, forklifts, generators, and other gas-requiring equipment. During a hurricane or flood, many gas stations run out of product, and it can take weeks before gas trailers can get through. Having a filled reserve fuel tank on site will allow your business to keep running while recovery efforts take place. There are a variety of options to choose, from a 15 gallon gas kart to a 50,000 gallon steel tank.

Water TanksBoth small and large businesses need to take care of their employees. Whether it’s potable or non-potable water, employees will need a source of both while working during recovery operations, especially if the local water supply is unavailable or contaminated. Having water tanks on site can give any business piece of mind when a hurricane rolls around. There are many options, including flexible, temporary, poly, steel, and more.

The right equipment can determine the survival of your business from a hurricane. Complete your hurricane supply list and make sure you have the right hurricane essentials for your facility.

For more information on hurricane supplies and flood preparation, visit our Emergency Supplies page.

Get FEMA’s comprehensive Business Protection Toolkit to learn all ins and outs of protecting your business before, during, and after a hurricane.

Call GEI Works today at 1-772-646-0597 and ask to speak to a hurricane preparation specialist.

The Massive Sargassum Seaweed Bloom of 2018: What It Means and What To Do Now

Sargassum has been washing ashore on Caribbean beaches at record levels this year--nearly 3x the last record set in 2015.

Sargassum seaweed is an important ecosystem in the Atlantic Ocean, but it can be devastating to Caribbean beaches. Many beach resorts are suffering from an unprecedented invasion of sargassum, causing some to close their doors during the current summer season. Many of the communities now being affected by seaweed are still recovering from Hurricane Irma, so bringing back tourism dollars is especially critical.

So what can be done to help? There are several innovative possibilities, but before providing sargassum solutions, it’s important to understand more about sargassum.

The Good and the Bad of Sargassum

In the Sargasso Sea, an area in the Atlantic Ocean covering 2 million square miles, massive floating rafts of Sargassum provide food and shelter for many species of fish, shrimp, turtle, and crabs—some of them endangered species. In moderate amounts, Sargassum washes up on beaches, providing a source of food for wildlife, and helping protect the beach from wind and water erosion. 

However, excessive amounts of Sargassum can starve the coastal waters of oxygen, causing mass fish death, and preventing endangered sea turtles from nesting. Natural vegetation that lives on the ocean floor can also die off—the murky seaweed blocking the natural light plants need to thrive.

Efforts to remove the seaweed may risk destabilizing beaches causing erosion and crushing sea turtle nests. Therefore, most cleanup efforts require extra caution and intense manual labor and painstaking raking. As the seaweed washes onshore, it piles up and decays, which attracts invasive insects. It also releases a toxic gas called hydrogen sulfide. Many cleanup crews have experienced hydrogen sulfide poisoning from exposure to large amounts of decaying Sargassum with flu-like symptoms: nausea, headaches, and eye and skin irritation.

Hydrogen sulfide is also particularly corrosive, leading to
rapid damage to A/C equipment, electrical systems, and plumbing in nearby areas. Schools, hotels and resorts, restaurants, and even sailing clubs have been seeing the effects of Sargassum reaching into their pockets. The invasive seaweed causes closures, lost tourism dollars, and requires ongoing cleanup throughout the summer months when Sargassum is flourishing.

What causes these massive seaweed blooms? Leading researcher
Brian LaPointe of Florida Atlantic University states that “our research has found that nitrogen and phosphorus from land-based runoff and pollutants, including nitrogen-heavy fertilizers and sewage waste, are washing into rivers such as the Mississippi and the Amazon. This fuels sargassum growth.”

And grow it does. In 2015, the last record Sargassum bloom affected large swaths of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, and even caused
Mexico to deploy its military to deal with the issue.

Sargassum’s Record Breaking Influx and Impact to the Caribbean

The University of South Florida’s Optical Oceanography Lab analyzes satellite imagery to predict troublesome Sargassum blooms. 

In January, 2018, researchers detected an abnormal amount of Sargassum in the Caribbean and Western Atlantic, predicting that 2018 would be a major year for Sargassum blooms. They were correct. In the chart, it is shown that as of June 2018, the Sargassum levels are nearly 3x the record breaking high of 2015.

The natural ocean currents help to predict where the sargassum will travel. 

Those currents have driven the sargassum right into the Caribbean, and along the Central American eastern coastline.

The effects on the environment and tourism industry this year have already been devastating. The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States met recently to discuss the impact of Sargassum in the Windward Islands. Barbados’ National Conservation Commission has called their fight against Sargassum “a valiant battle,” as the seaweed inundates its northern, eastern, and southern coastlines. Jamaica’s government has allocated $5 million for the removal of Sargassum from its beaches. South Florida has also seen mass deposits of Sargassum, especially in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale

On Martinique, incredible amounts of Sargassum have been choking local waterways. The French government is planning an intervention, allocating £3.5 million to supply some of its islands in the Caribbean with tractors, gas masks, and other equipment. On Martinique especially, piles of Sargassum have been responsible for mass fish death and even a school closure. On Grand Cayman, the Department of Environment asks to be consulted before any cleanup attempt, and have forbidden the use of heavy machinery without written consent. In Cayman Brac, sea turtle hatchlings were found entangled in masses of Sargassum, unable to reach the shore.

Unique Problems Call for Unique Solutions

GEI Works not only manufactures unique product solutions for environmental issues, we are continually learning about new methods and procedures for mitigating disasters like the Sargassum Bloom of 2018.

Clean beaches matter. In 2015, when the last record bloom struck the Caribbean, we sent a team to the Dominican Republic to learn more about the invasive seaweed while our production team worked overtime to construct a solution that could be immediately deployed. When sargassum is overwhelming your beach, immediate action is needed. GEI Works can quickly mobilize to get the fast answers that are needed.

We have worked with many beach resorts and communities in a variety of coastal locations. We help them with their emergency sargassum problems, providing the fast response they need to get the sargassum under control. The areas we have provided solutions to include:

  • Antigua
  • Turks & Caicos
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Grand Cayman
  • Dominican Republic
  • Belize
  • Florida Keys
  • New York
  • Dania Beach
  • And Many Others in the U.S. and the Caribbean

For Sargassum control, we usually recommend a sargassum containment boom or a permanent boom for longer-term containment. The booms work in calm or moving water, varying tidal conditions, and are built to withstand UV-exposure and extreme temperatures. Anchoring the entire structure is essential. Protect your investment with our full line of accessories for the booms, including anchoring kits. These help stabilize and support the boom and maximize effectiveness. 

The Orion Aquatic Plant and Containment Boom helps contain Sargassum blooms in three different ways.

  • Deflection: use the Aquatic Plant Boom to keep Sargassum off the beach. This is particularly useful in coves or protected beaches. The containment boom floats on the surface of the water, allowing fish, sea turtles, and other marine life to pass underneath it.
  • Diversion: use the Aquatic Plant Boom to deflect Sargassum from hotel and resort beaches to nearby beaches where it can be collected. Reduces the impact on the tourism industry.
  • Containment: Use the containment boom to collect Sargassum in open water where it can be collected. 

Your project’s budget, specifications, requirements, and environmental conditions factor into the specific sargassum solution that’s right for you. That’s why we work with each client individually and consult global experts to help find the right solution for your needs. If you’re experiencing issues with Sargassum, we are interested in hearing from you. Rather than simply suggesting a product, we seek the right solutions! 

Contact GEI Works to receive help and to discuss your Sargassum issues at +1-772-646-0597.

Staked Turbidity Barriers: Tips for Success

Staked Turbidity Barrier

Staked Turbidity Barriers are an essential best management practice on job sites because they serve an important purpose: protecting surrounding environments from contaminated stormwater runoff. Stormwater accumulates and causes flooding, collects sediment and debris, gathers force and erodes land in its path. The buildup is then dumped into nearby lakes, streams, and other watersheds, resulting in water pollution.

Project sites, which disturb the soil during the construction process, are especially vulnerable to this rapid, aggressive sheet flow. That is why stormwater management measures have been put in place by government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT). These organizations offer guidelines to help minimize the effects of the stormwater flow.

FDOT Guidelines for Staked Turbidity Barrier

FDOT Design Standards for TurbidityBarriers, an example of guidelines from a government agency.

Construction sites use many best management practice (BMPs) products and solutions as part of their Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP). One of the most common types is staked turbidity barriers.

There are two versions of the staked barrier. The first is the black-staked silt fence, which is made of permeable geotextile fabric that filters the stormwater, allowing water to pass through as it collects sediment. The second is the yellow-staked turbidity barrier, made from impermeable PVC that also collects sediment, but then redirects sheetflow or standing water instead of filtering it. Both are useful for certain applications, and depending on climate, are often used in conjunction with each other. For sites looking to redirect water flow to avoid contamination, yellow PVC staked turbidity barrier is the GEI Works solution.

Why Use the Yellow Staked Turbidity Barrier?

Many sediment and erosion control products exist, so it’s a natural to wonder: why use staked turbidity barriers? A few reasons for the staked turbidity barrier’s popularity and usefulness include:
  • Affordability
  • Easy Installation
  • Compact for Transportation
  • High visibility (so site workers and heavy equipment operators  can easily spot it)
  • Satisfies regulation requirements
  •  Impervious PVC material deflects water flow
These advantages are magnified by correct installation, or negated by improper installation. A poorly-installed staked turbidity barrier system is the number one reason they fail.

Installation tips for Turbidity Barrier

When Barriers Fail: Tips for Correctly Installing a Staked Barrier System

In order to know what to do, you have to know what not to do. So what exactly causes the barriers to fail? Several factors are responsible. Take heed and do them well and you increase the chances for a successful and properly-managed site protected against stormwater runoff. Ignore or do them hastily and the curtains will not perform as intended, leaving your site open to failed inspections, fines, and environmental implications.  

The barriers are a deceptively simple concept. However, there are several ways they are improperly installed on construction sites.

Incorrect  Placement. Fencing should not just be put up randomly or whichever way is most convenient. It must be well thought through ahead of time. To understand placing, it helps to understand the flow and absorption of water at the site. Stormwater runoff takes the path of least resistance, so the lowest part of the fence will get the most water flow and accumulated sediment buildup, especially with saturated or poorly draining soil types.

Each site has unique contours that affect how sheet flow will respond to a storm or rainfall event. Identifying these contours and how water interacts with the topography can determine the site conditions and needs. When these factors are not taken into account, the stormwater will pool in the wrong area or at too great of a concentration, overwhelming and putting a strain on the fence. For instance, long, straight runs of fencing are not recommended because the flow is not being managed. Curving fence into a “J” shaped hook on the lower end is more effective because it controls where the water will go, and provides increased settling time.

Inadequate Amount and Choice of Materials. Saving money on the front end by skimping on fencing length or proper stakes can cost much more in the long term. The proper amount of material is 100 feet of silt fence per 10,000 square foot of disturbed area, with no run of fencing more than 200 feet before setting up a new fence. Sometimes more than one staked barrier system is required for areas with more intense flooding and sediment buildup. More fencing is needed when the barrier is overwhelmed after a rainfall. Water should not overflow the top of the fence.   In some areas, dual parallel staked fence systems with several feet of natural vegetation between them may be required.

Proper quality materials make a difference in the success of a turbidity barrier. GEI Works’ Triton-Staked Turbidity Barrier is made of  marine-grade 350 lbs. high strength PVC material. It is available in 13 oz., 18 oz., and 22 oz. weights. The stronger the material, the less likely it is to tear, making the 22 oz. turbidity barrier a strong and resilient option  from GEI Works. Many state DOT guidelines recommend using at least an 18 oz. fabric.. The second part of the barrier system is the stakes. Wood stakes or steel stakes are acceptable, although steel stakes are recommended by the EPA. The stakes should be driven at least 2 feet into the ground and 4-5 feet apart to ensure they stay upright and steady.

Improper  Prep. Proper trenching is one of the most important steps in installing staked barriers.  Trenching reinforces the strength of the material and ensures the waterflow and sediment doesn’t discharge beneath the barrier system. The trench should be dug 8 inches deep. Then the PVC curtain and stakes should be placed into the trench, backfilling the bottom 8 inches of the barrier, while ensuring that there are no gaps. Trenching creates a seal, strengthening the system as a whole and making it more impermeable as well.

Broken Turbidity Barrier

“Set It and Forget It” The turbidity barrier system is not designed to be set up and then ignored. Regular inspections, especially after a bad storm or rain event, can help to spot issues before they develop into a bigger and more costly problem. Even one broken or fallen area of fencing can make the whole section ineffective and cause it to fail. Sediment deposits that have gathered along the fence should be removed when they have reached half of the fence’s height. It is not uncommon for the barriers to be damaged during construction work by workers or machinery. Damaged sections should be  fixed immediately before the entire system needs to be replaced.

A More Effective Staked Barrier System

Most staked turbidity barrier systems that fail could have been prevented with proper planning and installation. Staked Turbidity Barriers maximize their effectiveness when they are:
  • Properly placed on a project site’s specific slopes and contours
  • Used with an adequate amount and choice of material
  • Installed with stake posts at a sturdy depth and spacing
  • Backfilled and compacted with soil along the fence with no gaps, to reinforce the strength of the fence system.
  • Maintained regularly and repaired or replaced as needed.
By incorporating these tips, projects can stay ahead of any potential obstacles on the job site. A well-maintained site that has a properly planned and implemented system is better for all by keeping runoff from negatively affecting other areas off site such as protected wetlands, water bodies and other natural resources.

For more information on GEI Works’ Staked Turbidity Barriers for sale, read our flyer or contact our GEI Works product specialists by calling 772-646-0597 or requesting a quote.

Blog | Hydrocarbon Harm: The Effects of Contaminated Water

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has estimated that eighty percent of pollution to the marine environment comes from the land. When people think of water pollution and its effect on marine life, the first sources that probably come to mind are large oil spills – the ones that make big news. However, a huge contributor to the problem is what’s often referred to as nonpoint source pollution, or polluted runoff, that spills, drips, and drops through construction and industrial sites, parking lots, fueling stations, and any other location that could be affected by stormwater runoff. This is a direct result of the use of millions of motor vehicles,  pesticides, and other toxic organic matter.

It may seem insignificant, but the next time you’re pumping gas, pay attention to the drips that fall to the ground when the nozzle is removed from the car. This happens for every vehicle that refuels, at every gas station, around the country and the world.  The next rainfall will sweep those remnants into the closest stormwater drain, making every day people a huge part of the problem.

Thankfully, it is just as easy to educate ourselves and be part of the solution.

What are hydrocarbons? 
Let’s get back to basics. Hydrocarbons are—unsurprisingly– a mix of hydrogen and carbon and a major component of organic chemistry that people use  in regular day-to-day activities, but in different forms. There are hydrocarbons all around us, but their other names are more recognizable
  • Natural Gas & Fuels – When someone  thinks of “natural” fuel sources, like methane, propane (gas grills), and even butane (lighter fluid), they’re thinking of one of the biggest categories of hydrocarbons, which are often used as lubricating oils and grease as well. 
  • Plastics – There’s no denying that plastic is everywhere. The plastic is made from petrochemicals, which are made by altering the way hydrocarbons are chemically composed.
  • Paraffin – Ever heard of a paraffin wax at the salon? Ever lit a candle? These are just some items that contain paraffin, which is made up of hydrocarbons. It’s even used to preserve food and serves a similar purpose in the medical field.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol- While not a pure hydrocarbon, isopropyl alcohol is an altered form of it that bonds to even more carbon atoms, and is often used in the medicine field in cleaners.  
  • Asphalt – When a hydrocarbon is heated, it will form tar, which then becomes asphalt with the addition of other ingredients. 
Environmental Impact of Oil Contamination
It’s clear that hydrocarbons, specifically oils and fuels, have a negative impact on our environment, but let’s take it a step further: what exactly are we doing to our water quality when we forgo protective stormwater BMPs? Once contamination makes its way through stormwater drains and into waterways – our environment is immediately impacted. 

Animals are adapting – or dying.
To the many organisms that call our waters home, survival of the fittest is an unfair game when pollution is a player. Oleg G. Mironov of the Institute of Biology of the South Seas discusses at great length the biological consequences of hydrocarbon pollution. Many of these fish and floating organisms like zooplankton and algae are unable to avoid what Mironov refers to as “active contact” with the oil contamination, and are either injured severely or perish. This takes a significant amount of fish out of the population, many of which contribute to an otherwise robust commercial fishing industry.   

Creatures speedy enough to escape polluted waters may not die, but their altered migration patterns certainly cause a chain reaction in the rest of the ecosystem (starting with what they eat, and eats them), which is forced to adjust as well. 

That includes us humans, too.
Most people can’t stand even the smell of these oil products, never mind drinking or showering in them. Numerous health concerns today can be caused by contaminated water. The Institute of Microbial Technology details precisely how contaminated water at different levels of toxicity can cause damage, especially to those most vulnerable: children, pregnant women, those with pre-existing health issues, and those living in conditions that impose health stress. 

From behavioral changes to physical sickness, the effect contaminated water has on the human population depends on toxicity and length of exposure. Oil contamination, per the Institute of Microbial Technology, can even affect us down to our cells, especially reproductive cells and even cancer cells.

Keeping our Water Safe from Hydrocarbons
So what can be done to keep harmful oils and hydrocarbons from making their way into our waters? Implementing stormwater BMPs at the source of the problem (in this case, the stormwater drains) is best management practice for Stormwater pollutants.   

One of the newest products available on the market for storm drain protection is the OX Oil SheenSorb, a high-capacity oil absorbent pillow. The SheenSorb is simple to install, by just attaching to the grate. After absorbing up to a gallon of oil contaminant, the skimmer can be easily removed by the 6 foot tether and safely disposed into a bucket. Any construction site, fuel station, or site looking for a cost-effective solution that complies with NPDES and SWPPP BMP requirements should consider adding the Oil SheenSorb to their project. 

The Oil SheenSorb is just one of many products available from GEI Works to help contain oils and hydrocarbons. If there is  a  stormwater drain in a heavily-trafficked area, chances are that drain would benefit from any one of our stormwater BMP products, depending on the size and scope of the site, including:
  • Over-Grate Drain Covers - easy-to-install grate covers that prevent stormwater runoff contamination before it enters the drain system.
  • Under Grate Filters - allow for a discrete, secure fit for heavy-traffic areas.
  • Catch Basins Inserts - a high-strength, all-in-one filtration system designed to solve all runoff requirements.
Unsure of which product will be the best fit for a project? Contact the product experts at GEI Works online or by phone at 772-646-0597 with questions or to get a quote.