When constructing a pipeline, erosion and soil loss is very often underestimated. Pipeline erosioncan have severe effects on a project. It’s essential for companies to invest in protecting their projects and mitigate the risks of pipeline erosion. Choosing not to do so can have severe economic impacts.
Why Soil Loss Is Such a Problem
Soil loss can cause significant economic problems. It can prove costly either in cleanup and remediation efforts or potential lost income. Regardless, contractors would be far better off taking measures to prevent soil loss before a construction project is complete. Soil loss is inevitable, and it’s something that happens each year gradually. In fact, to the naked eye, you may not realize just how much soil you’re losing. Sometimes contractors don’t notice soil loss until they see before and after photos taken a decade apart.
A perfect example of how devastating soil loss is can be seen in the agriculture industry. Approximately 40% of farmers who were surveyed in 2017 indicated that they were losing less than a ¼ ton of soil per acre each year, while another 40% indicated they were losing between a ¼ ton and a ton per acre. These figures would only be achievable if a flat field weren’t tilled.
This proves two things: (1) Even a flat field is susceptible to runoff and erosion. If you factor in any grade or slope, runoff figures will increase, mainly thanks to rill erosion. (2) People tend to underestimate how much soil they lose each year. In actuality, the average soil loss rate is nearly 6 tons per acre annually. Researchers have estimated that America has lost almost half of its topsoil since we began farming.
Lost topsoil then equals lost revenue. Farmers who lose topsoil thanks to erosion end up losing atleast 15 bushels of corn per acre per year. Topsoil loss also impacts future yields because runoff takes away many vital nutrients. Farmers that don’t compensate for erosion end up having to make more significant crop yields in smaller spots.
How to Prevent Pipeline Erosion
Submar mats are one of the best ways to fight pipeline erosion. The mats are a cost-effective, long-term solution. While they begin working as soon as they are introduced, they actually get better with time since they allow re-vegetation through the mat.
Vegetation is one of the most effective forms of erosion control. Vegetation slows the flow rates of moisture and helps keep soil in place. Over time, vegetation grows through the mat and becomes more abundant, therefore becoming more efficient over time. The mats can be joined together, allowing you to protect hundreds of miles of pipeline or shoreline.
Submar mats are buried just below the mudline. This is important because it ensures a smooth, natural surface that won’t alter your landscape. It also prevents joint-use issues. These mats can be used anywhere, from Gulf of Mexico inlets to farmland.