Mississippi Losing Ground To Construction

Construction zones are causing Mississippi to lose ground. According to the State Department of Environmental Quality, run-off water from building sites is one of the top causes of erosion in our state. At a conference in Gulfport this week, developers, engineers, and building inspectors saw the very the latest soil preservation technology.

Adam Dial designs road and bridges which are projects that disturb the ground. He's looking to give his clients better ways to prevent erosion.

He was glad "to be able to see these products and actually see how they work and see how they've performed in the last few days, the rain storms we've had. It's been a really good experience."

When the International Erosion Control Association changed its Memphis seminar from classroom style to hands-on, James Maclellan was in the audience. He convinced his bosses at the Mississippi DEQ that the program would benefit builders here.

"Erosion and sediment control for construction is kind of new to Mississippi," said Maclellan. "There has been a lot of regulations or concern about it until the last couple of years. Now that that's happening, there's more concern and more interest. We need to have more training."

The hope is to slow down erosion because undoing the damage is so costly. Soil off construction sites often clogs up culverts and storm drain systems. It damages reservoirs, buries the eggs in fisheries and makes drinking water more expensive to process.

"Just because you disturb all the soil, you open it all up," said Maclellan. "Then you leave it uncovered for awhile while they're building a structure or something. Until they get final stabilization, a tremendous amount of erosion can take place."

Officials from the International Erosion Control Association say companies who don't do enough to control construction erosion can face federal fines of up to $25,000 a day.