Demolition at the Port of Vancouver Requires Innovative Sediment Control

The Project

A Tough Challenge.  An Easy Solution.

The Port of Vancouver USA started planning in 2007 to revitalize its historic Terminal 1 – the port’s first marine terminal on the Columbia River in downtown Vancouver.

The goal of this revitalization was to promote growth and new commerce in the city of Vancouver. These plans included partial demolition of the former Red Lion Hotel in spring 2017 to make room for high end office buildings, restaurants, residential buildings, and retail businesses.

Matt Graves, Environmental Manager at the Port of Vancouver, oversaw environmental permitting and erosion control for this project. He also developed the SWPPP and performed the site inspections throughout the life of the project.

Sediment control in port of Vancouver.


The Challenge

A mix of hard surface and soil applications, and site access

During the planning stage of the redevelopment it became apparent that, if traditional BMPs were used, then creating a secure demolitions site would be problematic.

Graves needed to secure two access points for the site that would see heavy traffic during the demolition. Typically, to secure an ingress/egress point, rumble pads and/or tire washouts are utilized. However, these solutions would prove difficult in the already-developed site. Silt fence would have been another typically used BMP for perimeter control in development projects such as this one, but silt fence could not provide convenient site access for trucks or excavators.

Additionally, silt fence could not form a continuous sediment retention barrier in-between access points because of the mix of soil and sidewalk surrounding the site. Graves and his team needed a sediment control solution that was versatile enough to be installed on both hard surface and soil while also providing as much access to the site for heavy equipment as possible.

Port of Vancouver demolition project.


The Solution

A versatile and durable BMP

Matt Graves was already familiar with the DuraWattle from past projects. Based on how the DuraWattle had performed at the Port of Vancouver decant facility, Graves knew that the product was perfect for applications where silt fence would have failed.

Though it is a common perimeter control device, silt fence cannot be installed on hard surfaces. Graves needed a product versatile enough to work on both soil and hard surfaces. The DuraWattle can be installed across multiple different surfaces including soil and asphalt without a change in its overall effectiveness.

The DuraWattle is also designed to be driven over by heavy traffic; it bounces back when driven over by trucks and even heavy machinery. The durability of the DuraWattle would allow site access for the vehicles at the Terminal 1 redevelopment without compromising the efficacy of the product.

The DuraWattle’s high sediment retention rate and continuous barrier would keep demolition debris from leaving the site while the flexible installation of the DuraWattle would allow it to be the sole perimeter control device utilized.

In addition to the product’s effectiveness, the ease of installation was another major factor that led Graves to pick the DuraWattle as his perimeter control of choice at the Port of Vancouver.

Sediment barrier for hard and soft surface.


The Installation

50% faster than silt fence

The installation of the DuraWattle was straightforward and easily handled by a small crew.

It took a two-man crew approximately 10 hours to install approximately 700ft of DuraWattle. According to Graves, a similar length of silt fence would have taken a three-man team several hours longer (and would potentially require concrete removal); the 700ft of DuraWattle was installed 50% faster than a similar length of silt fence. This install included hard surface, curb, and soil installations.

For the hard surface installation, Graves chose to use wood planks to secure the DuraWattle to the asphalt (as recommended in the installation guide).

Active sediment control with digger.


The Outcome

Great compliance, no maintenance, and plans for reuse

According to Graves:

“The DuraWattle was an excellent choice for our demo project. With changing terrain from soils to asphalt, the DuraWattle performed great, it was also easy to install and remove. No maintenance was required during the 35-day project and it held up well to the challenges of a hotel demo site. Having the DuraWattle as our perimeter sediment control BMP made life easy as the erosion and sediment control inspector.”

Additionally, Graves commented that he was happy with his choice of the DuraWattle because he can reuse it across multiple projects. The product performed for the entirety of the project despite heavy traffic, heavy sediment flow, and multiple rain events. On average, the site saw two trucks driving in and out of the site 10-12 times per day and up to three excavators driving in and out of the site per day.

After the completion of the project, the removal of the DuraWattle was quick and painless. Compared to silt fence, the removal of the product was about 35% faster according to the install team.

After the demolitions project, the Port of Vancouver made plans to reuse 300ft of the original 700ft of DuraWattle on later projects. Graves saved time and money by recycling the product for future development projects and industrial sediment control.

The DuraWattle was an innovative choice made by Matt Graves to solve the challenge of sediment control on a developed site with a mix of hard surface and soil. The product delivered versatility and proved effective while maintaining site access for heavy machinery.

With a team of two installers and a truckload of DuraWattle, the Port of Vancouver secured their demolitions site for the life of the project.


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