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WHAT’S GOING ON HERE? What is that thing?

August 1st, 2011 / By: / Geotextiles

Using fabrics called geotextiles

By Josh Wengler, The Wayne Independent

HONESDALE, PA. — Driving on Route 191 just north of Honesdale, one can’t help but notice the pipeline workers tearing up a huge swath of the hillside on the east side of the road across from the entrance to the Wayne County Fairgrounds.

It’s an enormous undertaking, to be sure, but a side issue those who drive through that area regularly have likely wondered about is those square straw bale pond-like things the pipeliners have built on the other side of the road.

One [WayneIndependent.com] reader recently approached us about those pond-things. Swimming with her kids in [nearby] Dyberry Creek swimming hole behind Apple Grove, she reported that a stream of liquid was running into the creek where no stream had ever been before.

Upon further investigation, she found one of those straw bale structures on the far side of the creek to be the source of the stream, and she became concerned about what might be in it.

So, what are those pond-things? What are they for? Why are the guys pumping stuff into them? And what exactly is it that’s being pumped in?

According to Len Grover, resource conservationist with the Wayne County Conservation District (who checked out the site due to our reader’s concerns), the structures are called sediment basins.

Using fabrics called geotextiles, which are permeable fabrics that have the ability to separate, filter, reinforce, protect, or drain soils pumped into them.

Typically made from polypropylene or polyester, the fabric is laid over the first course of straw bales to form a shallow pool, and then more layers of straw are put on top to hold the fabric in place and make the pool deeper.

In the course of trenching to lay the pipeline, workers often have to dredge water from the trench. When it’s pumped out, that water has a lot of sediment in it, so it can’t just be pumped out onto the ground—especially right near a creek like the Dyberry, where the sediment would end up.

So, in accordance with modern regulatory norms known as Best Management Practices (BMPs), the water is pumped into the basin, where it can slowly leach through the straw and the geotextile fabric, leaving the sediment behind as clean water flows out.

Grover says he inspected the basins used near the creek and found them to be functioning just as they should, with no harmful discharges of any kind coming out of them—just clean water.

If you see something going on in your neighborhood that you would like to know more about, we would be happy to help get answers for you.

©WayneIndependent.com (GateHouse Media)
Reprinted with permission

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