Turbidity Curtain Maintenance
Silt Curtain Installation Best Practices
Turbidity curtain maintenance requires proper care and thought. With the right silt curtain configuration, proper installation, and ongoing maintenance, your Triton Turbidity Curtain by GEI Works will provide superior turbidity control results and an outstanding field-use life.
For successful turbidity control and reliable satisfaction of compliance requirements, several factors need to be considered with respect to turbidity curtains (also known as a silt curtains, or sediment curtains). These important considerations include:
- Environmental and project site factors. (heavy boater traffic, tidal/wave/wind conditions, etc.)
- What type of pollutants will need to be managed as part of the turbidity control process? (sediments, oils, floating debris, etc.)
- Construction characteristics of the turbidity curtain itself. (Consider the type of seams, size of floats, style and placement of grommets and connectors, quality of fabric and materials, etc.)
- Turbidity curtain style and design pattern. (Does it fit the environmental conditions and water depths appropriately?)
- Adequate installation. (Were anchoring and installation best practices followed?)
Steps to Success: 1. Select the Right Turbidity Curtain for the Job
As with any project, the key to successful turbidity control lies in having the right equipment to do the job. While they may all look similar to the untrained eye, not all turbidity curtains are the same: they're not built with the same manufacturing processes, they're not made from the same components and materials, and the specifications that went into the design are not all the same. Having the right fit will save you time and money by avoiding costly product failures, downtime, rework, and compliance fines.
GEI Works manufactures a full line of Triton Silt Curtains for sediment and turbidity control for use on calm lakes, rough tidal conditions, and everything in between. Custom solutions are also available.
|Type 1 (Calm Water)
|Type 2 (<1.0 knot current)
|Type 3 (<1.5 knot current)
Steps to Success: 2. Turbidity Curtain Installation
Before you develop a turbidity curtain installation plan, you must understand the specific job site conditions to maintaining compliance. Without an accurate understanding of potential influences, you cannot accurately determine the best layout and silt curtain installation plan. If a turbidity control plan is well designed and orchestrated, ongoing silt curtain maintenance should be minimal.
When developing a turbidity curtain installation plan, consider factors such as:
- current velocity and direction
- wind velocity and direction
- wave height and frequency
- water depth and variances
- soil type and stability beneath the project area
- the time-frame expected for completion of the project, and any seasonal factors
- boater traffic impacts to the project
- See also: Sediment Curtain FAQ
Use these factors in determining the exact placement and silt curtain installation, as well as the anchoring type and placement. Accessories such as the Tow Bridle and Reefing Lines can make the silt curtain installation process simpler, and help protect the curtain from damage during set-up. Consider keeping a Vinyl Repair Kit on hand, in case of accidental damage to the curtain during installation.
Note: Insufficient anchoring is the most common reason for turbidity curtain failure. Improperly placed anchors can have the same effect as well. In addition to compromising the containment area, causing the potential for compliance fines and project shut downs, improper anchoring also causes significant damage to the turbidity curtain itself. This can ruin your investment in what could otherwise be a long-term tool in your compliance toolbox. For more information about the impacts of improper turbidity curtain installation and anchoring, please see: Turbidity Curtain: Only as Strong as Its Weakest Anchor (PDF).
It is best to follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the turbidity curtain's installation. For general guidelines, see: Triton Turbidity Curtain Installation Guide. If you have any concerns or questions, please contact us. We're here to help.
Steps to Success: 3. Turbidity Curtain Maintenance
As with any compliance BMP (Best Management Practice), periodic on-site checks are necessary in ensuring continued turbidity control and compliance performance. Additionally, SWPPPs often require on-site check-ups within 24 hours after each significant storm event in the area. However, if the factors in steps 1 and 2 above have been adequately addressed, it can help to minimize the sediment curtain maintenance that's required.
- Noticeable areas where the curtain is not successfully securing the containment area.
- Sufficient turbidity control performance. Use a turbidimeter regularly for accurate turbidity measurements. This will help in ensuring that your job site is staying within the compliance requirements.
- Anchors that have become dislodged or loose. Depending on load, silt curtain installation, and weather events, repositioning or re-tensioning anchors may be periodically required.
- Curtain skirt bases that have become buried in sediment or debris. To function properly, turbidity curtain should be approximately 1 foot above the bottom at all times. See: Silt Curtain Stopped Floating.
- Marine growth or accumulated debris on connectors, buoys, mooring lines, or tidal compensators. Clean if necessary. Consider keeping a few extra on hand: Turbidity Curtain Installation Accessories.
- Damage or tears to the sediment curtain itself. Keep a silt curtain Vinyl Repair Kit on hand for emergencies.
- Signs that the weather is changing. Turbidity Curtain should not be left in the water over winter in areas that are subject to ice formation. It should also be removed before severe storms.
Note: We can provide a helpful checklist for your on-site Silt Curtain Inspections. (Keep the completed copies and turbidity measurements for your project's records.)
Please contact us for this checklist, and for assistance, pricing, or questions. We're here to help.
The above tips can help maintain the lifespan of your turbidity barrier and keep it functioning for a long time to come. Should any problems arise—something has broken, the turbidity isn't being contained properly, you've failed an inspection—contact us and we can help repair or replace the turbidity curtain.