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Silt fence barriers used to control soil erosion

Monday, 25 June 2018, Kuching: Constructing the Pan Borneo Highway Sarawak is not just about clearing sites, bull-dozing earth, and paving road surfaces.

There are various statutory guidelines to be complied with so as to ensure inconveniences of various forms are not caused during construction works.

Among such guidelines is the need to ensure due protection to the environment. Ensuring there is minimal negative impact on the social framework is the most prominent one to comply with, and at times a true challenge in civil construction.

The subject matter of installing silt fence barriers is only one of the many environmental protection control measures being made in this direction on the Pan Borneo Highway Sarawak project.

Silt fencing is being used as a means to control soil erosion through sedimentation, by way of both arresting soil erosion as well as protecting water quality from pollution through sedimentation of loose soils in storm water run-off that can flow in nearby streams, rivers, lakes and seas.

Such environment protection measures become significant in large-sized projects, specifically so for highway projects as large as Pan Borneo Highway where loose soil formation and widespread demolition works take place on a massive scale during construction, thus putting the environment and water quality into vulnerability.

So what does this form of this silt fence look like?

An example can be seen at Serian town. Silt fence barriers can be found at the famous Tasik Danu.

As explained above, the purpose is to create a temporary sediment control device at the construction site to protect the water quality after soil particles get eroded downstream.

Typically, the fence is installed at a site before soil disturbance begins and is placed down-slope from the disturbance area. A typical fence consists of a piece of synthetic filter fabric (also called a geotextile) stretched between a series of wooden or metal fence stakes along a horizontal contour level.

By using the silt fence barrier, it can also prevent flooding. Also, with proper installation and maintenance, sedimentation into the nearby stream is reduced.