An erosion and sediment control plan (ESCP) is a compliance document that shows steps to be followed, implemented, and applied to deal with erosion and sediment in a project.

The goal must always be to minimize sediment load to perimeter best management practices with effective erosion control. By documenting, implementing, and monitoring an ESCP, the risk of releasing sediment is reduced.

Sediment can travel downstream to sensitive receiving waters, with the potential to harm the environment and result in extensive clean-up costs and fines levied by the regulatory authorities. We answer all the factual ESCP questions in this article. 

What is an erosion and sediment control plan?

An ESCP is a documentation created to build a roadmap of compliance on the site in which erosion and sediment control are being conducted. The documentation is a blue print which enables a track record of erosion and sediment control compliance of your project. The purpose of an ESCP is to:

  • Enable compliance with relevant legislation, regulations and approvals.
  • Render support to the environmental health and safety system.
  • Offer a framework to minimize erosion of land and soil resources.
  • Maintain the integrity of infrastructure and assets.
  • Minimize transport of sediment to waters.
  • Manage the transport of sediment to land.
  • Cement development of procedures where appropriate over time.

What are the key elements of an erosion and sediment control plan?

The plan provides progress and historical background to activities performed and how compliance is monitored according to approved permits during the site processing phases.

Are environmental regulations, health and safety concerns or potential profit loss a concern right now?

One needs to enrol an erosion and sediment control coordinator that checks conformity with ESCP documents. ESCP compliance is a process and these are some of the key elements:

  • Stakeholders consultation process across the value chain. 
  • Enroll/engage an ESCP coordinator very early.
  • Enable enough time for initial observation visit for compliance prior project.
  • Consistency in compliance is mandatory before, during and after project. 
  • ESCP documentation is used to conduct site visit observations.
  • Checking of conformity is an ongoing process. 
  • Permit authorities require independent observations of erosion control components. 

Principles of an erosion and sediment control plan – lessons from mining. 

ESCP that is set up in the most practical way possible according to all the guidelines is based on principles which must be consistently followed in preparation for covering all the bases. The following are principles of ESCP for a mine site:

  • Minimising surface disturbance and restricting access to undisturbed areas.
  • Progressive rehabilitation/stabilisation of infrastructure areas.
  • Runoff separation from disturbed and undisturbed areas where practicable.
  • Surface drain building to control and manage surface runoff.
  • Construction of sediment dams. 
  • Use of modified water storages to contain runoff up to specified designed criterion. 

Why do you need an erosion and sediment control plan?

Preparing, implementing or assessing an ESCP is based on different factors and scenarios. The reasons why you need an erosion and sediment control plan are:

  • Compliance with federal, state, and/or local authorities. 
  • Best management practice.
  • Building blocks of a larger system that guides project execution. 
  • Achieve success of the project.
  • Due to diligence to local communities.
  • Due diligence to the environment.
  • Earth stewardship.
  • Trouble shooting solutions to rectify any issues.

What is the design criteria for sediment control structures?

Different sediment control structures have different functions and design capacities. The ESCP makes mention of these structures as part of sediment control before sensitive areas are exposed. The design criteria is as follows:

  • Upslope diversion drains: reduce runoff from undisturbed areas onto disturbed areas. The design capacity is for peak flow calculated for 1 in 10 year critical duration rainfall event. 
  • Erosion prevention: Once upstream water is dvierted, the goal of any plan must first be to prevent erosion, rather than to catch sediment. Soil binders in combination with staged clearing, site compaction, and water velocity controls are key parts of this strategy.
  • Downslope collection drains: responsible for catching and diverting disturbed area runoff water to the sediment dams. The design capacity is for peak flow calculated for 1 in 10 year critical duration rainfall event.
  • Sediment dams: containment of sediment-laden runoff from disturbed areas with more than 150 cubic meters/year estimated soil loss. In the settling zone, the design capacity is to store the runoff produced from the 80th percentile, 5-day rainfall event. In the sediment zone, two months calculated soil loss estimated using Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RULSE). 
  • Sediment fences and/straw bale filters: play the role of retention of suspended sediments. Limit flow to less than 50L/s in the design 1 in 10 year critical duration rainfall event. 

What is the timeline of events in an erosion and sediment control plan?

ECSP events have a timeline which is followed by the development activities and tends to happen in the following order:

  • Diversion drain construction to reduce the catchment reporting to disturbed areas.
  • Sediment dam building to offer temporary retention of runoff from disturbed areas.
  • Collection drain construction to redirect runoff to sediment dams.
  • Sediment fences and straw bale filters when needed.
  • Construction of pre-stripping or mining works will only take place once erosion and sediment control measures are in place. 


What areas generate sediment which could be eroded?

On site operations, supply chain and transportation have the potential to cause or increase erosion and subsequently generate sediment at the site. The areas that generate sediment include:

  • Construction activities that leave bare soil.
  • Mining activities involving clearing.
  • Open cut coal mine pits.
  • Coal handling and preparation plants (CHPP)
  • Out of pit waste emplacements, bunds and topsoil stockpiles.
  • Coal stockpiles.
  • Infrastructure and activities at the export coal loader.
  • Access haul roads.
  • Water management infrastructure – dams, pits, pipelines.

Why choose GRT’s erosion and sediment control products?

Soil erosion control plan options rely on sediment capture. This happens using silt fences, check dams and sedimentation ponds. The downside is the need for continual maintenance and failure to treat the problem at its source. GRT Enviro Binder is an innovative spray on polymer erosion control solution and offers the following:

  • Keeps the soil in place, which is where you want it. 
  • Offers fast results and proven to outperform in any situation.
  • Non-toxic and environmentally friendly applicable in diverse environments.
  • Quickly penetrates the top layer of the soil and form a durable layer.
  • Supports seed and vegetation growth.
  • Effective erosion and dust suppression in the long term. 
  • Simple application which is time effective.
  • Long-term savings on water costs.
  • Water run-off or loss is significantly reduced.
  • Reduces wash off or leaching of fertilizers and pesticides. 
  • Improves germination rate of crust sensitive plants.

Use GRT as part of your ESCP for successful erosion management, sediment control, and water runoff management. Our polymer technology deliver a new benchmark in erosion and sediment control across Australia and the world at large. GRT Enviro Binder can be used in a diverse range of projects to protect against erosion, reduce the safety and environmental risk, and ultimately save more time and money. Reach out to Daniel Grundy, to learn more about how GRT can help you in achieving consistent compliance in your ESCP. 

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