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FILTER BERMS and our EXPRESS BLOWER SERVICE
A Better Way to Distribute, Protect and Beautify.

USEFULNESS OF COMPOST BLANKETS AND FILTER BERMS AS STORM WATER RUNOFF CONTROL

In January 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency added the use of Compost Filter Berms and Compost Blankets to their list of best management practices for control of storm water, at construction sites, as part of the Federal Clean Water Act.

Pacific Topsoils, Inc. (P.T.I.) has been testing and actively using both compost filter berms and compost blankets at our own topsoil production facilities to prevent soil run off from entering local streams and waterways. Our findings from these real life situations helped pioneer the use of compost for erosion control in King and Snohomish Counties by demonstrating better results than traditional sediment catching practices as well as providing additional environmental benefits. Compost is all natural, a renewable resource, provides a medium for vegetation growth, nutrients for seed germination and the ability to reduce pollutants often found in construction sites storm water runoff such as oil, fuel, heavy metals and pesticides.

Currently, silt fences are used on almost all construction sites, simply because it is the product the industry has become accustomed to using. Yet, recent research shows that it’s effectiveness at containing silt and sediment is not nearly as efficient as previously thought. Compost as storm water run off control to date is only used on a small number of job sites and usually in combination with silt fencing. This limited use is certainly not a reflection of the usefulness of the product, but rather the lack of understanding throughout the industry of the overall cost savings and environmental protection the product provides.

Construction contractor’s are realizing that the added upfront installation costs, compared to hay barriers and silt fence, are balanced out throughout the project in lower maintenance costs and a dramatic savings with the elimination of haul away and disposal costs.

This method is expected to become the standard on construction sites across the county as more studies are completed on the environmental benefits of using compost for erosion control.

For pricing and product information please call our commercial sales department at
1-800-884-SOIL(7645) or 425-337-2700.

For more information on compost blankets and filter berms
Go to Environmental Protection Agency website http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/menuofbmps/menu.cfm
Select #4- construction site storm water runoff control.
This will take you to the fact sheets for best management practices for compost filter berms and compost blankets.

Compost filter berms are a natural, highly effective replacement for perimeter storm water controls such as silt fence and straw bales. When the compost is applied with pneumatic equipment, such as Pacific Topsoils, Inc. Blower Trucks, the process allows for greater air space, increasing the volume of water the berm can hold. Much like silt fence, this type of berm is placed perpendicular to construction site to control sheet flow. Filter berms can also be used on slopes as long as they are spaced closely or used in combination with compost blankets. These types of berms are mainly used in areas where the sheet flow does not exceed 1 cu. ft. per second. If the berm will be left in place for post-construction storm water control, it is recommended that the entire berm be broadcast spread with quick germinating native seed after installation. For sites where the berms will be removed after construction, the mulch can simply be spread about the site, avoiding many of the removal and disposal fees associated with traditional storm water controls. The compost that is left behind will continue to be a benefit to the native soil and re-growth of vegetation.

Other benefits of compost filter berms are…

-Composts ability to retain large volumes of water reduces rill erosion.
-Microorganisms found in quality compost trap and aid in the decomposition of hazardous substances.
-The three dimensional shape of the berm allows for greater area of barrier to ground contact while allowing large amount of clean water to pass through even when the lower section of the berm becomes saturated with sediment.
-Compost filter berms can be applied on many surfaces including rocky and frozen soils.
-Aesthetically pleasing, blending with native perimeter vegetation.

Compost blankets are composed of a layer, usually 1”-4” thick, of quality composted mulch. The product is best applied with a pneumatic system, such as Pacific Topsoils Inc. Blower Truck, this ensures that the product is laid loosely over the entire disrupted soil surface, like a “blanket”, creating 100% soil to mulch contact. The finished depth of the product is usually determined by conditions of the site including slope and the concentration of storm water run off. Compost blankets can be applied to slopes ranging from 4 to 1 up to 2 to 1, where the erosion control issues are caused by sheet flow.

Other benefits of compost blankets are…

-Composts ability to retain large volumes of water reduces rill erosion.
-Microorganisms found in quality compost trap and aid in the decomposition of hazardous substances.
-Compost blankets acts as the native top layer of soil, before it was removed, by absorbing the impact of rainfall and preventing soil compaction.
-Compost blankets can be applied on many surfaces including rocky and frozen soils.
-Aesthetically pleasing, blending with native perimeter vegetation.
-Provides micronutrients, moisture retention and seed protection to allow more complete seed germination
-Offers weed suppression


Pacific Topsoils has been serving homeowners and landscape contractors with top quality topsoil products, mulches, and tools since 1978.

Seven days a week, our real people are happy to answer your questions about our products, or stop by one of our many locations.

With locations in King and Snohomish County including Bellevue, Everett, Issaquah, Kenmore, Maltby, Marysville, Mill Creek, Seattle, Tukwila, and the Gray Barn Nursery in Redmond, we're here to serve you.

Gift Cards are always available in any denomination.

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Last Update 08-01--2011

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