Turbidity barriers, also known as turbidity curtains, silt curtains, or silt barriers, are essential in water or near water construction projects. Turbidity barriers contain the silt and sediments stirred by in water or near water construction activities and by dredging operations. Turbidity barriers are useful for a variety of construction projects, including terminal projects (such as groins, dikes, breakwaters), ferry landing construction, pipeline crossings, coastal and shoreline restoration and rehabilitation, and intake construction, among others. Furthermore, a turbidity barrier is also effective in controlling the release of organics into the water column, which at concentrated levels can be toxic to marine life.
If you are planning on using a turbidity barrier for an upcoming construction project, there are several things that you will want to keep in mind. First of all, you will need to ensure that a turbidity barrier is set up to operate ideally for each specific construction project. For example, on some cases it is desirable to construct the turbidity curtain’s skirt from filter fabric which allows the passage of water but restricts the flow of silt and sediment. These filter fabrics are engineered geotextiles and have the strength and durability necessary for use in a turbidity curtain.
In other cases, you may need to look into anchoring the turbidity barrier. Anchoring a turbidity barrier is often best when tidal conditions or other conditions may subject the barrier to loading from either side. Keep in mind, it is best to anchor the turbidity curtain from both sides so that a wind or current change cannot allow the turbidity curtain to override the anchors or pull them free. In areas with flowing water, such as rivers, every attempt should be made to orient the turbidity curtain parallel to the current. And while in service, turbidity curtains should be inspected on a regular basis to ensure that they are functioning properly.
Also keep in mind that when you are working in water or near water there are numerous rules and regulations that need to be followed. You may want consult a turbidity control specialists to ensure that you adhere to all regulations and requirements that might apply to your project, including the Clean Water Act, National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), and state (DOT) and local regulations. You will also need to keep in mind that if your project involves oil this will require extra precautions and you will also need to look into special equipment, such as oil spill response equipment, an oil skimmer, etc. Overall, if you are working on a project in or around water make sure you adhere to the proper environmental and safety regulations.