Choose Your Hard Surface Sediment Barriers Wisely

DuraWattle as an Effective Hard-Surface Sediment Control Device


Sacramento Shames Construction at Walmart Site DuraWattle on hard surface.

When you are faced with potential runoff on a hard-surface site, your options for sediment barriers are limited. The use of straw wattle and gravel bags has been a traditional choice. However, fiber rolls and gravel bags have limitations and may not be an appropriate selection.

Comparing DuraWattle® with Straw Wattle and Gravel Bags for Hard Surfaces

Feedback from Todd Hudson with SWIMS

As the industry progresses and many states are starting to require effective and durable sediment control BMPs, non-traditional solutions are becoming a more popular choice for hard surfaces. Not only do these newer solutions outshine straw wattle performance, they are often significantly longer lasting. We talked to Estimator Project Manager Todd Hudson about how he approaches hard-surface sediment control on his sites, and his feelings about the straw wattle and gravel bag combination. Hudson has been working with Storm Water Inspection and Maintenance Services (SWIMS) for 16 years and has vast experience choosing BMPs.

“It just kind of depends on the site and how much exposure you have. If it’s just a flat site where they’re maybe demoing a building, a lot of times [straw wattle and gravel bags] can be enough. But if there’s going to be a lot of dirt, a lot of potential for run off, then that [solution] doesn’t really work that well. We would then go to something like the Heavyweight DuraWattle.”

DuraWattle is a durable, lightweight, and flexible sediment barrier manufactured by Heavyweight Sediment Control Solutions. It solves issues that arise from commonly used straw wattle and gravel bags in hard-surface sediment control.

  • DuraWattle is reusable and lasts for years over multiple job sites.
  • The barrier is lightweight and easy to install.
  • Field tests (ASTM D7531) show 96.6% sediment retention and 58% turbidity reduction.
  • They are built to be driven over in heavy traffic.

Hudson used DuraWattle on a tenant improvement Walmart site in Rohnert Park, CA in 2014. Todd praised the product for its effectiveness and how quickly he was able to master the hard-surface install and removal process on a current tenant improvement Walmart site in Rohnert Park, CA.

“Once we got it down, it became pretty easy. We’ve gone back and moved it around several times.”

The DuraWattle worked well for Todd at this Walmart site because it allowed the locals to still drive through the area before it was completely fenced off. As this specific wattle is designed to be driven over, it was a great match.

Rohnert Park, CA SWIMS install of DuraWattle on asphalt.

Todd plans to reuse the DuraWattle when the Rohnert Park job is over. He regularly uses it on other jobsites with soil and sidewalk applications. Because the wattle is built to be driven over, the barrier is especially effective at entrances and exits of sites.

“Traditional straw wattle would be flattened out and junk within a few hours of installation on a traditional job site and the [DuraWattle] will last. So, I use it frequently for entrances and exits of job sites.”

Review of a DuraWattle Hard Surface Application

Feedback from Terry Sigler with Shames Construction

In 2015, we had a talk with Terry Sigler on this Walmart site in Sacramento, CA about how DuraWattle performed during a big storm. The complete case study is also available.

Trouble with Traditional Choices

Challenging the Status Quo

In some cases, the traditional choice is not always best.

In California for example, the use of fiber rolls on hard surfaces is not recognized. In Caltrans’ BMP manuals for fiber rolls, there are no spec drawings for a hard surface application (Section 4, Fiber Rolls SC-5).

The CASQA BMP Handbook lists under limitations of fiber rolls, “Fiber rolls are not effective unless trenched in and staked” (Fiber Rolls SE-5). As this is not reasonable on hard surfaces, it is easy to see the downfalls of its use. This is not to mention other listed limitations such as it’s difficulty to move while saturated, causing potential worker’s compensation situations.

Rock bag berms are also a limited choice for hard surface sediment control. They are quick to break down and can be very labor intensive. The California Stormwater BMP Handbook SE-6 (Gravel Bag Berm) states that “Gravel berms may be difficult to remove,” and “Installation may be labor intensive.” Caltrans’ Handbook (SC-6 Gravel Bag Berms) states that they have “Limited durability for long term projects.”

Showing 2 comments
  • Jason Gullette, former SW Regional Mgr (region included CA) for North American Green

    Wow – a wattle that be driven over by heavy trafiic, then is still in good enough condition to reuse! Lightweight and moveable as work progresses on the site is a great benefit, too. You don’t hear a lot of discusssion about hard surface sediment control, so I found this article interesting.

    • wtb-admin

      Thank you so much for your comments, Jason. We have really striven to provide a wonderful solution for common sediment barrier problems!

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