There seems to be a constant battle between doing something right and finding ways to cut a project’s costs significantly. This especially goes for those contract workers looking to find “cost-effective” solutions for their sites. Regardless of whether you are a business finishing a huge project or property owner working on your own land, there is always a battle between promoting green infrastructure and cost-saving measures when it comes to erosion control. While it is not always possible to fully commit to environmentally friendly actions, it is still best to strive to do as much as possible to balance the two. Not only will this have the potential to save you money on projects, but it helps protect our environment. The first step in a cost-effective endeavor is always picking the right products. We are going to look at when turf reinforcement mats (TRMs) are cost-effective solutions. 

Don’t Forget to Factor in Erosion Control Costs

When it comes down to budgeting a project, many businesses do not like the idea of investing a lot of money into proper erosion and sediment control. They would much rather allocate their resources to other aspects of the task at hand. After all, what could be the harm in some water flowing through your land? The fact is that investing in the proper erosion control products can significantly save you money in the long run. On the flip side of that, cutting corners when it comes to erosion protection can end up costing you more than you can imagine. 

Proper Erosion Control 

When it comes to getting the right erosion control product, there are a lot of choices. Erosion control can take the form of rolled erosion control products (RECP), hydraulic erosion control products (HECP), Sediment Retention Fiber Rolls (SRFR), and hard armor solutions. Each one of these ECPs has its own purpose, benefit, and limits when it comes to erosion and sediment control. These are products that are made by professionals and have gone through numerous design considerations for optimal erosion resistance. This means that each product has a unique purpose and its own limitations. Remember that next time you are looking into going for a cheaper option. 

Knowing Your Options When It Comes to RECPs

RECPs are products that can be rolled onto a soil surface to provide protection against erosion. They can be divided into temporary RECPs and permanent RECPs. Knowing when to use the right erosion control systems can save you considerable amounts of money on projects. Temporary RECPs include Mulch Control Nets (MCN), Open Weave Textiles (OWT), and Erosion Control Blankets (ECB). Permanent RECPs are turf reinforcement mats (TRMs). Each one of these types of products is unique when it comes to the amount of flow-induced shear stress and velocity they can withstand and protect the soil against, the slopes they are meant to be applied to, the soil types they are best used on, and how well they promote vegetation establishment. Knowing when to opt for the considerably higher performance and protection provided by permanent RECPs can save you money in a lot of ways.

Buy Cheap, Buy Twice

Rolled erosion control products tend to be more expensive as their ability to protect against erosion increases. This is due to the fact that it takes more resources to make more effective products that offer permanent soil protection and reinforcement. Permanent erosion control products (TRMs) are typically more expensive than temporary degradable ECBs but they are often worth the long term investment. Unlike degradable ECBs that simply help control erosion and establish vegetation but then disappear, TRMs provide the initial erosion protection and vegetation establishment and then stay in place long-term to reinforce and increase the erosion resistance of the vegetation.  TRM-reinforced vegetation is able to handle much higher flows than non-reinforced vegetation. enabling its use in high flow areas that otherwise would require some form of hard armoring like rock riprap.

Opting for temporary RECPs in such conditions will more than likely result in failures before or after vegetation establishment, costing you not only additional product purchases but also extra time and human resources to reinstall them. Make sure you look at job site requirements. If the location calls for permanent erosion control products, then starting with the right product right away can cut erosion and sediment control costs in the long run. 

Cheaper Than Hard Armor Solutions 

Many people love turf reinforcement mats because they are a more cost-effective alternative to hard armor solutions like rock riprap. Hard armor is a way of combating erosion in areas that are exposed to high water velocity and shear stress. However, hard armor materials typically require heavy trucks for transporting, heavy equipment for installing, and are much more expensive than TRMs. In fact, the installed cost of TRMs is usually less than 50% that of rock riprap, with even greater cost savings on many projects. One reason some people still opt for rock riprap and other hard armor products is that they need immediately effective, maximum erosion resistance. The majority of conventional turf reinforcement mats do not provide a high level of erosion protection until after good vegetation establishment and maturation.  However, this changes with the new InstaTurf ShearForce high flow erosion control products from GrassWorx. These products are the first and only TRMs that deliver rock-like erosion protection from day one of installation, well before any vegetation growth. InstaTurf ShearForce products offer immediate, pre-vegetated erosion resistance actually exceeding that of 24-inch rock riprap. This is possible because of their unique simulated turf design and structure. Both ShearForce mats, ShearForce 10 and ShearForce 12 form a hybrid vegetative armoring system with simulated turf protecting, growing, and reinforcing natural vegetation.

Avoid Paying Fines

Another way that proper erosion control can save you money is in helping you avoid significant monetary fines. Since sediment generated by erosion is the number one pollutant impacting our rivers, lakes and oceans, Institutions, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), leverage hefty fines on project owners or other responsible parties that fail to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) to effectively protect the soil and prevent excess sediment runoff from construction sites.., TRMs are recognized by the EPA as BMPs that can be used in place of rock for protecting drainage channels and other areas subject to concentrated water flows.  Cutting corners can cost you a lot more money than you ever anticipated spending on a project. Penalties for noncompliance can range up to tens of thousands of dollars per day per violation. The penalties may vary from state to state, but regardless of your location, they can be very significant, yet avoidable unnecessary expenses. In many cases, TRMs, especially the ShearForce10 and ShearForce12 products with their increased immediate armoring capabilities, can help you avoid fines while saving you a ton of money on rock.