Whether they're serene lakes, winding rivers, or expansive oceans, the multiples types play a vital role in our ecosystem. Yet, human activities often bring about unwanted consequences, including increased sediment runoff during construction projects, dredging, or shoreline development. These sediments can cloud the waters, harm aquatic life, and degrade water quality. To combat this issue, environmental experts turn to a formidable ally: turbidity curtains, also known as turbidity barriers or floating barriers.
Understanding Turbidity Curtains
Turbidity curtains are specialized floating barriers meticulously crafted to control sediment dispersion in water bodies. They consist of a floating top section, a curtain-like skirt, and ballast material at the bottom. These components work in harmony to keep construction-related sediments from escaping into pristine waters, thus safeguarding aquatic ecosystems and ensuring compliance with environmental regulations.
When and Where to Use Turbidity Curtains
Turbidity curtains are indispensable in a variety of situations:
Construction Sites: When building near or in water bodies, sediments can be easily disturbed, leading to adverse environmental effects. Turbidity curtains are crucial for mitigating the damage during these projects. They are typically deployed around the construction area, creating a protective barrier to contain sediment runoff.
Dredging Operations: Dredging involves removing sediments from the bottom of water bodies, often in preparation for navigation or harbor maintenance. Turbidity curtains help contain these sediments during the operation, preventing them from spreading and causing harm to aquatic ecosystems.
Marina Maintenance: For maintenance activities, such as dock repairs or expansion, turbidity curtains prevent sediment contamination in marinas. By containing the sediments within a designated area, water quality and marine life are preserved.
Beach Nourishment: When replenishing eroded shorelines with sand or gravel, turbidity curtains are essential. They prevent sediment dispersion into the surrounding waters, ensuring that the newly deposited material stays where it's intended.
Types of Turbidity Curtains
Choosing the right turbidity curtain involves considering several crucial factors:
Curtain Depth: The curtain depth should be selected based on the water conditions at the deployment site. For deeper waters or locations with strong currents, opt for curtains with longer skirts. This prevents sediment from escaping underneath the curtain. A general rule of thumb is to have the skirt extend at least 1.5 times the expected sediment depth. This ensures that even in turbulent conditions, the curtain remains effective at containing sediments.
Fabric Weight: The weight of the fabric used in the curtain affects its durability. An 18oz fabric is suitable for calm waters with lower sediment loads, while a 22oz fabric provides added strength and is recommended for more turbulent conditions or locations with a high sediment load.
Number of Cables: In situations with strong currents or high sediment loads, using multiple cables enhances stability and performance. Additional cables provide extra support, preventing the curtain from sagging or drifting.
Additional Chains: Adding chains to the bottom of the curtain further aids in anchoring and stability, especially in areas with significant water movement. Chains can help maintain the curtain's position and prevent it from floating or shifting.
The various types of curtains are often referred to as DOT or Industrial style curtains.
BMP Supplies offers a cheat sheet on the commonly used types to compare HERE
Deploying Turbidity Curtains Effectively
Proper deployment is crucial for turbidity curtains to function optimally:
Positioning: Place the curtain down-current from the sediment source to capture all particles. Ensure it forms a complete barrier, reaching all the way to the waterbed. The curtain should encircle the area where sediment runoff is expected.
Anchoring: Secure the curtain using anchors or weights along the bottom. The number and spacing of these anchors should be determined by water conditions. In fast-moving waters, more anchors may be required to prevent the curtain from drifting.
Tension: Ensure sufficient tension on the curtain to maintain its shape and effectiveness. Tensioning devices, such as ratchets or winches, can be used to adjust the tightness of the curtain as needed.
Maintenance: Regularly inspect and maintain the curtain to address wear and tear. Damaged or worn-out components should be repaired or replaced promptly to ensure the curtain's continued effectiveness.
BMP Supplies offers full installation instructions HERE
In conclusion, turbidity curtains are a powerful tool for preserving water quality and protecting aquatic ecosystems during construction, dredging, and other activities that disturb sediment. By understanding the different types of curtains and their applications, along with proper deployment and maintenance, you can harness their full potential to safeguard our precious water bodies and maintain environmental harmony. Whether it's a calm lake or a bustling harbor, turbidity curtains play a vital role in keeping our waters clear and our ecosystems healthy.