5 Mistakes to Avoid When Dewatering a Construction Site

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Dewatering a Construction Site

Dewatering is one of the most crucial steps in preconstruction. Removing groundwater from the worksite helps prevent damage to the surrounding environment, protects workers and gives you a stronger foundation to build on.

Given that this is such an important process, there’s a lot of room for error. Any mistakes can have costly consequences, so you’ll want to prevent them as much as possible. Here are five mistakes to avoid when dewatering a construction site.

1. Overlooking Permits and Regulations

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in dewatering is forgetting to check local regulations first. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires daily inspections and sampling to ensure operations meet general standards. If you don’t want to run into legal trouble, you should check these standards and ensure you follow them.

Remember that each state may have additional regulations you must abide by for legal dewatering. These can vary and may change over time, so always check before each job to ensure you follow the most recent and relevant rules. You may have to get some permits before starting, too.

2. Choosing the Wrong Dewatering Method

You can start the dewatering process once you have all the permits and regulatory checks in place. A common mistake to make here is choosing the wrong method. There are many ways to dewater your site, each with its own benefits and disadvantages, so you should ensure you select the best one for the job.

Sump pumps are the most common method for dewatering a worksite, but they’re not always the best. Deep well dewatering may be a better choice if you’re in a low-lying area with a lot of water that needs to move, despite the higher costs.

3. Leaving Collected Water Unprotected

Another dewatering mistake to avoid is not protecting the water you move away from the worksite. This may seem unnecessary initially, but consider that the water doesn’t disappear once it’s off-site. It has to go somewhere else, and leaving it unprotected means it could collect contaminants and endanger the environment or drinking water.

Similarly, it’s important to filter the surface water of sediment and other contaminants to minimize the environmental impact. UV light will kill bacteria and viruses, but you don’t necessarily have to go that far. A clean, intact dewatering bag will provide sufficient filtration.

4. Not Monitoring for Erosion

Make sure you check for any signs of erosion as you pump water off-site. Human activity already increases soil erosion up to 1,000 times its natural rate, and dewatering can easily contribute to that if you’re not careful.

Regulations require you to check the work site at least daily anyway, so while you’re there, look around for signs of erosion. Stop the operation if you see large clumps of soil coming undone or the nearby ground falling away. Catching and responding to this as soon as possible helps minimize the damage.

5. Improperly Discharging Water

It’s essential to think carefully about where you discharge the water you move from the construction site. You can send it into natural bodies like lakes and rivers with a permit, but remember that some states have turbidity limits that require this water to be clean enough before disposal.

Filtering and cleaning water before discharging as much as possible is a good practice to minimize environmental risks regardless of location. You should also choose a discharge site with minimal erosion risks and a lack of sensitive wildlife. Picking a nearby area can also help lower costs and transportation emissions.

Dewater Your Site Safely and Effectively

Dewatering a construction site is fairly straightforward on the surface, but there’s a lot to consider when running these operations. Ensuring you work as safely and effectively as possible is crucial to avoiding environmental damage and related penalties.

These five mistakes aren’t the only ones you could make but are some of the most important to avoid. Preventing these errors enables you to dewater your site with little concern.

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