Erosion and Sediment Control
Product Case Study
Innovation at the Edge - The Future of Perimeter Sediment Control
Are these innovations making a difference?
As a nation, the U.S. has a recent history of “stewardship-based” regulations to do things like conserve
energy, protect people, and safeguard natural resources like forest, water, and air. In construction,
some examples are low-e glass, low-VOC paints, Energy Star appliances, and water-saving plumbing.
Consumer buying habits related to health and well-being are forcing changes to
long-established products and services. Products such as sugar-free flavored carbonated
water, free-range hormone, and antibiotic-free chicken, organic produce, and a move away from red
meat are just a few examples.
Are these innovations making a difference? In general, are people healthier and living longer? Is our
environment better off?
The answer is mostly “yes”.
So, in this modern era of technology and innovation, why are we still so challenged to keep sediment
from leaving our constructions sites?
Woven silt fence and straw wattles – both +25-year-old technologies – still dominate perimeter
sediment control in E&S planning in the United States. Due to higher protection
expectations, these technologies just aren’t good enough anymore – we can much better.
What is stopping us?
Newer, better outcome technologies are and have been available, but acceptance and proliferation has
been slow. Why?
Parts of the Nation Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
(NPDES) needs overhauled
First, the presenter will examine how the NPDES Program is structured and show how the programs’
original intent was to protect the environment but has ended up protecting outdated/antiquated
standards and technologies.
Second, the presenter will examine how these antiquated standards limit innovators to creating
products that only meet the out-of-date antiquated standards – at the lowest cost!
Finally, the presenter will offer a call to action for the E&S community to re-invent this system to get the
right outcome. The green pasture beyond regulation is innovation. Several structural changes will be
proposed and examined in the area of nationwide product evaluation and validation. A key component
to re-inventing this system is embracing proliferating innovation.
Creating a Culture if Innovation
I once heard this at a talk:
Regulations are rules for YOU to avoid trouble, Innovation is the way WE (collectively) get out of trouble.
“I am here today to share with you an inquisitive, optimistic view of the future. It’s a view based the
idea that we can’t regulate our way out of trouble – our only chance is to innovate our way out of
What is the definition of high-tech innovation?
The presenter will show and discuss the Silicon Valley “high tech” definition of innovation. Based on this
definition, the presenter will go into detail on the motivations, investigation, and development process
of his 3 most recent innovations in sediment retention related to perimeter control.
1. A robust multi-layer compost textile featuring a natural cellulose core that provides a
microflora/microfauna environment to consume pollutants. Independent testing at TRI
Environmental shows the highest sediment retention/ hydraulic flow combination ever
published (via ASTM 5141).
2. A new 17 oz nonwoven filtration textile originating not in the geotextile industry but in the
acoustic/automotive industry. Compared to a typical 17oz geotextile, this textile has high
sediment retention, dramatically increases permittivity, and adds useful dynamic elongation -
while retaining a high degree of puncture and tear resistance.
3. A new type of filter sock “fill” made from switchgrass – a native prairie grass historically planted
either to prevent soil erosion in the national Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) or for bioenergy
production. This biomass offers some important and compelling advantages over
current filter sock biomass in the areas of predictable product performance, economic
development, agricultural community involvement, pollution retention, and site remediation.