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.   

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. 

Deicing Aircraft and Runways for Safe Travel

Ensuring that an aircraft is in proper working order prior to takeoff is essential for the safety of everyone on board. During the winter months, that often means removing any snow, ice, or frost that may accumulate on the wings or tail. The smallest amount of accumulation can negatively affect Performance and safety.  Luckily, there are safe methods to keep ice off aircraft, and safe  material storage solutions.

What Impact Does Snow, Ice, and Frost Have?
When snow, ice, or frost accumulates on the wings or tail of an aircraft, it changes the shape of the part. Components of an airplane are designed to exact specifications to provide the proper amount of lift, so even the slightest amount of frost can have a negative impact. To clear the plane of these winter effects and avoid future problems, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandates that deicing and anti-icing take place should any snow, ice, or frost accumulate on an aircraft. They recommend deicing:

Vertical & Horizontal Tail Surfaces
Engine Inlets & Fan Blades
Control Surfaces & Gaps
Landing Gear & Landing Gear Door
Antennas & Sensors

What is Lift?
The most important parts of an aircraft are the wings and tail. Both of these parts are intentionally designed as a specific shape to provide the proper amount of lift. The wings of most airplanes feature an airfoil, shaped with curved upper and flatter lower parts. This shape redirects the air and alters the air pressure, lifting the aircraft.

When the engines thrust the aircraft forward, the air is heading directly toward the front of the wing. As it reaches the wing, it splits with some air molecules moving over the wing and others dipping under the wing. By the time the air moving around the wing heads toward the back, the air above and below the wing is moving in a downward direction, lifting the aircraft.

Deicing an Airplane
If snow, ice, or frost has accumulated on an airplane, the first step is removal. Deicing a plane usually involves the spraying of a pressurized deicing fluid— a mixture of water and ethylene glycol, a popular antifreeze. Glycol is often used because it lowers the freezing point of the water, allowing the mixture to be more effective. Once heated, the deicing agent is applied to the aircraft where necessary.

Anti-Icing an Airplane
While deicing an aircraft will remove any snow, ice, or frost, it does little to prevent future accumulation before or during flight.
If additional snow, ice, or frost falls onto the plane, an anti-icing fluid will be required to keep the wings clear. This fluid has a higher concentration of glycol than the deicing agent, lowering the freezing point to well below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius. This specific concentration easily prevents precipitation from freezing onto the aircraft. It also includes an additive that further thickens the mixture, making application and adherence of the product easy.

Spraying the Plane
When spraying a deicing or anti-icing agent on larger commercial jets, the FAA recommends using two to four deicing rigs. These vehicles typically feature an arm that raises the spraying apparatus so it can hover over the wing of the plane. Large airports often have separate vehicles that spray deicing agents on runways and taxiways. For smaller airports with fewer resources, a deicing trailer may be used to deice both planes and runways.

Deicing a Runway
The deicing or anti-icing of an airplane will improve takeoff and flight, but it’s not the only factor to consider. If a plane lands on a piece of ice sitting on a runway, regardless of the condition of the plane, it can lose control and skid off the surface. To avoid this, a deicing or anti-icing agent is applied, improving the surface friction for better breaking action and directional control. The materials used for this purpose is often referred to as pavement deicing products (PDP) or runway deicing fluid (RDF). The applications of these products lower the freezing point of water, causing the frozen elements to melt or prevent the freezing or re-freezing of liquid.

Storage Solutions Made Simple with Argo
Argo Water Trailers sold by GEI Works are a versatile and practical water storage solution, in that they can serve both to apply anti-icing or de-icing solutions to small aircraft, and can also spray roadways and runways to prevent ice or snow accumulation.  In warmer weather, water trailers are frequently used to wash aircraft, transport water, or for grounds keeping.  Built to your specifications, to exacting quality standards, the Argo Water Trailer delivers. 

If you’re interested in a deicer trailer or deicing brine storage, call us at 772-646-0597 or email us at to get a quote today!