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VOL. 117 | NO. 89 | Tuesday, May 6, 2003

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Erosion control conference gets down and dirty

Erosion control conference gets down and dirty


The Daily News

With a myriad of new neighborhoods and commercial venues under construction throughout the region at any given time, a lot of dirt is moved every day in the Mid-South.

That can be good when it comes to energizing the local economy. But, when the dirt doesnt stay where its supposed to, it can cause problems, economic and otherwise.

A two-day erosion and sediment control workshop starts Thursday at Shelby Oaks Corporate Park, 5865 Shelby Oaks Drive, to inform developers, contractors, designers, regulators and other building and environment professionals about problems with controlling erosion on construction sites and how to solve them.

In the two days, we hope to educate people as to the extent to which they have to comply make them aware of the regulatory environment and show them, Heres what you have to do and heres what happens if you dont do it, said Ben Northcutt, executive director of the International Erosion Control Association, which is sponsoring the workshop along with the citys Public Works department, Associated General Contractors, American Society of Civil Engineers and Belz Enterprises.

The workshop also will showcase tools available to control erosion, as well as proper ways to use them.

We hope to open (participants) eyes not only to things that they are currently doing, but also expose them to other technologies that may work better for them, may cost less money, may be easier to install, may be more effective, with the overall goal of controlling soil erosion from construction sites, Northcutt said.

Tom Lawrence, the citys storm water manager, said although erosion control tools are available and in use throughout the Memphis area, they often are not installed correctly, causing runoff problems that can include flooding, destruction of natural habitats and lowered water quality.

Everyone has seen runoff from construction sites mud washing into the road, Lawrence said. What that does is that water washes into the storm drain system, and then it washes into the rivers and creeks. And there, it causes a whole lot of different problems.

As a result of those problems, all streams in the Memphis area are on the states list of sediment-polluted streams, Lawrence said.

That can lead to a lot of other regulations down the road, he said.

The aim of the conference is to train people involved in the construction process how to install erosion control tools and recognize when they are being used improperly.

The workshops, which offer classroom-style training starting at 8:30 a.m. Thursday and field training at an outdoor site near Shelby Oaks Corporate Park all day Friday, identify and showcase 10 tools called Best Management Practices, or BMPs designed to control runoff.

Participants can attend one or both days of workshops. Information about cost and registration for the conference is available at www.ieca.org or at (800) 455-4322.

Lawrence said in addition to contractors, developers and other construction professionals, the conference will be useful to government regulators from municipalities surrounding Memphis, which, within the next year, must begin to meet regulations similar to those Memphis already must meet with regard to construction site inspections, regulation enforcement and public education.

Along with regulation compliance, erosion control is necessary at construction sites to maintain a clean water supply, and to keep neighbors happy, Northcutt said.

Dont underestimate who your neighbors are, he said. There may be somebody downstream from you or somebody whose yard is getting filled up with dirt running off a construction site. Often, third parties can be as problematic for people who dont comply as the regulations themselves.

Were not out to nail anybody; were not out to point fingers. Were out to let people know, Heres what the law is and heres what you can do to be compliant.


PROPERTY SALES 128 234 13,285
MORTGAGES 80 152 8,323
BANKRUPTCIES 42 79 6,299