Skip to content

Why Distinguishing Between Erosion and Sediment Control BMPs is Key


At Washington Stormwater, we are dedicated to providing superior erosion and sediment control services that safeguard the environment while ensuring compliance with stringent regulatory standards. Understanding and implementing the correct Best Management Practices (BMPs) for erosion and sediment control is crucial for the success of any construction project. 

This blog post explores why distinguishing between these two types of BMPs is essential for environmental protection and for maintaining the integrity and timeline of construction projects.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the Difference: Grasping the distinction between erosion and sediment control BMPs is crucial for implementing the most effective environmental protection measures on construction sites.
  • Proactive and Reactive Measures: Erosion control BMPs are proactive, aiming to prevent soil displacement; sediment control BMPs are reactive, designed to manage soil after it has moved.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Adhering to BMPs is not just about environmental stewardship but also about complying with local, state, and federal regulations to avoid penalties.
  • Washington Stormwater’s Expertise: Leveraging the expertise of Washington Stormwater ensures that both erosion and sediment control measures are correctly implemented, maintaining project integrity and environmental compliance.
  • Custom Solutions: Every construction site is unique, necessitating customized BMPs that cater specifically to the site’s environmental and regulatory requirements.

Understanding Erosion and Sediment Control

Erosion involves the breakdown and movement of soil particles by water, wind, or gravity. On construction sites, this natural process can accelerate dramatically without proper management, leading to significant land degradation and the potential loss of valuable topsoil.

Sediment, on the other hand, refers to soil particles or other debris carried away by water or wind. Managing sediment is critical because when these particles settle, they can fill waterways, harm aquatic life, and contribute to pollution.

The distinction between managing erosion and controlling sediment lies at the heart of effective site management, emphasizing the need for specialized BMPs tailored to each challenge.

Differentiating Between Erosion and Sediment Control BMPs

Effective management of erosion and sediment requires a strategic approach, utilizing specific BMPs tailored to address the unique challenges posed by each:

  • Erosion Control BMPs: These practices are designed to prevent soil movement and include:
    • Planting vegetation to stabilize the soil.
    • Using mulches or erosion control blankets to protect bare soil from rain impact and surface runoff.
    • Constructing terraces to reduce slope lengths and runoff velocity.
  • Sediment Control BMPs: These methods aim to trap sediment once it is mobilized and prevent it from leaving the site. Examples include:
    • Silt fences and sediment basins that capture and settle out sediment-laden water.
    • Fiber rolls and sandbags are placed strategically to slow runoff and capture sediment.
    • Proper site grading to direct flows to sediment traps.

Each BMP plays a pivotal role in minimizing the environmental impact of construction activities, and their correct application can often mean the difference between compliance and costly fines.

Why Distinguishing Matters

Choosing the right BMP is critical because each type of control addresses different phases of potential environmental impact. Erosion controls are proactive, aiming to keep the soil in place, while sediment controls are reactive, dealing with soil after it has been displaced. Misapplying these BMPs can lead to ineffective practices that fail to prevent pollution or site damage, leading to:

  • Increased project costs due to fines and remediation efforts.
  • Extended project timelines due to failed inspections.
  • Long-term environmental damage to nearby ecosystems.

Compliance and Regulations

Navigating the maze of environmental regulations is challenging but essential. Federal, state, and local guidelines dictate specific measures for erosion and sediment control. At Washington Stormwater, our expertise ensures that your projects not only meet these regulations but also contribute positively to environmental stewardship.

Services Offered by Washington Stormwater

Washington Stormwater offers a comprehensive suite of services designed to address both erosion and sediment control effectively:

  • Permit Assistance: We navigate the complexities of obtaining the necessary environmental permits.
  • Custom BMP Implementation: Tailored solutions that align with your project’s specific needs.
  • CESCL Inspections: Regular inspections ensure ongoing compliance and effectiveness of installed BMPs.

Our team of experts is equipped with the knowledge and tools to ensure that every project adheres to the highest standards of environmental care and regulatory compliance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main types of erosion control BMPs?

Erosion control BMPs include techniques like vegetation, mulches, erosion control blankets, and terraces, all designed to prevent soil from being displaced by elements such as wind and water.

How do sediment control BMPs work?

Sediment control BMPs, such as silt fences, sediment basins, and fiber rolls, function by trapping displaced sediment and preventing it from leaving the construction site, thereby protecting water quality.

Why is it important to distinguish between erosion and sediment control?

Differentiating between the two is vital because each addresses different stages of potential environmental impact. Using the correct BMPs for each situation ensures effective site management and regulatory compliance.

Can Washington Stormwater help with obtaining the necessary permits for a project?

Yes, Washington Stormwater provides comprehensive permit assistance, helping clients navigate the complexities of the permitting process to ensure that all environmental regulations are met.

What should I do if my construction site has unique environmental challenges?

Contact Washington Stormwater for a tailored consultation. They assess specific site conditions and design customized BMPs to address unique challenges, ensuring both regulatory compliance and effective environmental protection.

Final Thoughts

At Washington Stormwater, we understand the critical nature of properly distinguishing and applying erosion and sediment control BMPs. By ensuring that the right practices are in place from the start of your project, we help safeguard the environment while keeping your projects on track.

We invite you to partner with Washington Stormwater, the best water treatment supplier. Leverage our expertise to ensure your construction activities are compliant and conducive to sustainable development. Contact Washington Stormwater today to discuss how we can assist with your erosion and sediment control needs and set your projects up for success.

Request a Quote

Planning a construction project or industrial build?

Contact our Washington Stormwater team today at (360) 625-8366 to schedule your onsite consultation.


Related Blog Posts

Stormwater treatment systems

Smart Stormwater Treatment Selection: 10 Essential Factors to Consider

At Washington Stormwater, a trusted name in the industry, we recognize the paramount importance of selecting the right stormwater treatment system for construction projects, industrial ...
Turbidity monitoring

Why Turbidity Monitoring Regulations Exist and How They Benefit the Environment

At Washington Stormwater, we specialize in guiding construction companies, contractors, and industrial facilities through the complex maze of EPA and WSDOE stormwater compliance regulations. One ...