Working on a pipeline site during the winter months offers a unique set of challenges. Temporary erosion and sediment control measures installed during frozen conditions may not remain functional under thaw conditions. This means that whatever you put in place to control erosion during frozen conditions needs to also function during the snowmelt to come.
Types of Winter Erosion
Besides snowmelt, the physical strains of intermittent freezing and thawing can cause problems. Also, certain areas of the right-of-way may not be accessible during thawing periods or during the spring melt due to soft soil conditions, making regular inspections, repairs, and maintenance an issue.
When choosing ways to combat erosion, it’s important to go with the strongest appropriate method. Options like mulch and synthetic blankets may not be enough. Articulating concrete revetment mats are a cost-effective, long-term solution that will stand up to winter conditions. These mats consist of flexible concrete elements connected by ultraviolet stabilized copolymer extruded fiber rope.
The Submar revetment mattress is an articulating concrete mat that is commonly used as protective cover for pipelines in rivers and streams. The concrete mats will provide a long-term solution and can be removed and replaced for maintenance of the pipeline if necessary. On top of that, the concrete mats will articulate and self-adjust to survive freezing, thawing, and future snowmelt.
The mats also allow for natural vegetation to return to the area. The vegetation allows the mats to blend with the natural surroundings, creating wildlife habitats and increasing biodiversity within the stream.
After the job is complete, regular inspections should be made as the weather changes. Stockpiles of materials should be located within the project area to allow efficient repair and maintenance of erosion controls. Crews should have the proper equipment available to allow access to the right-of-way under soft soil conditions, such as all-terrain vehicles with oversized tires, to prevent rutting, topsoil mixing, and damage to other temporary erosion controls.