Marine Debris Removal Grant Opportunity

We’ve all seen it: Unsightly and harmful piles of plastic bottles, trash and other debris floating in the water and on the shoreline.  It’s an increasing problem, rearing its head as cosmetic eyesores along shorelines, and silently killing marine animals and ecosystems below the water’s surface.

Thankfully, there’s an increasing awareness forming; educating and alerting the public to the harmful impact of debris and what can be done to mitigate it. 

Supporting US based marine cleanup efforts, NOAA’s Marine Debris Program has announced their 10th annual “Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant Opportunity.”  In 2015 they awarded almost 1.4 million dollars between 13 organizations to support water clean-up projects. This year, the NOAA Marine Debris Program is prepared to award 2 million dollars to “locally-driven, marine debris assessment and removal projects that will benefit coastal habitat, waterways and NOAA trust resources”.

This grant opportunity comes from the Marine Debris Program within NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Their mission is to increase public awareness and education of marine debris issues to identify and prevent debris pollution in our water sources. Whether you’re concerned about marine debris affecting aquatic underwater life, or the visible shoreline blemishes above water, opportunities like these are crucial for local initiatives to drive action and awareness.

You can read more here on NOAA’s Blog:

(For more about the effects of water pollution and prevention, see: water pollution solutions)   

If, like GEI Works, your organization is dedicated to the conservation of marine habitats, waterway cleanup efforts, or raising public education and awareness on the importance of debris removal, we encourage you to apply for this funding!  

GEI Works, Inc. manufactures products that work, including innovative and custom products for the protection of marine environments.  If we can be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Come Join Us at IECA!

GEI Works invites you to stop by Booth #231 at Environmental Connection in San Antonio, TX on February 17, 18, and 19. The International Erosion Control Association will be hosting their premier educational event at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio where 1,500 leaders of the erosion mitigation, sediment control, and stormwater management industry will attend application training courses, topic-focused technical sessions, and the largest expo of its kind. 

GEI Works will be featured at the "Learning Lounge" on Friday from 10:15-10:45 a.m. The Learning Lounge is a forum at which relevant erosion control topics are discussed, and solutions are proposed and explained.  As part of this event, GEI will debut three new stormwater filtration products. Each of these products are practical solutions to common challenges that erosion mitigation, sediment control, and stormwater management professionals face every day.

The new Taurus Over Grate Filter helps keep drain systems clean and free of debris.  It is durable enough to last in the toughest conditions, and its low profile makes it street-sweeper friendly.  It is rugged, convenient, versatile and easily installed by one person, without having to lift or remove heavy drain grates.  It can be used alone or combined with flocculants and absorbents, depending on the waterborne pollutants. 

The Taurus Ditch Check works like a mini check dam wall, slowing water flow while filtering sediment runoff in ditches, swales, and culverts. It has a self rising check dam designed to rise as the water flow increases, and lies nearly flat when there is no flow. The Taurus Ditch Check features an overflow port and built-in handles for easy sediment disposal, and folds flat for convenient storage and transport. 

The new Taurus Curb Inlet Filter prevents stormwater runoff from carrying harmful pollutants unfiltered into a curb drain. Unlike typical curb inlet guards that often create external sediment buildup, the Taurus Curb Inlet Filter allows sediment to flow into the drain where it is collected in a hopper and held until the unit is emptied. There is an overflow port to ensure that water doesn't pool, regardless of how full the hopper becomes. The Taurus Curb Inlet Filter is so low profile that it almost disappears when installed in the mouth of storm drains. 

If you plan on attending Environmental Connection, stop by our booth #231 and say hello. Feel free at any time to contact our product specialists for more product details. 

New Textbook Features Turbidity Curtain Information from GEI Works

Outskirts Press has published a textbook entitled “Erosion Control and Land Restoration,” a compilation of materials designed to educate students and erosion-remediation professionals. GEI Works, Inc. provided the content for Chapter 12: “Design and implementation of turbidity curtains.”

Fighting desertification

The paperback book is the product of its compiler, Pablo A. Garcia-Chevesich, Ph.D. The Chilean native has dedicated his life to fighting the encroachment of global desertification. Garcia-Chevesich is a U.S. Ambassador for UNESCO’s International Sediment Initiative and a board member of the International Erosion Control Association (Western Chapter). He sounds the clarion alarm in his book, pointing out that the world loses 36 football fields’ worth of land to soil erosion every 60 seconds. Some of that loss, he asserts, is permanent. The answer to this growing problem is for people to manage land properly and return the eroded acreage to its normal state when possible.

Accordingly, the book contains chapters about hydrology and storm runoff, soil erosion, and the various methods of resisting desertification.

Turbidity and turbidity curtains

Chapter 12 starts off with a basic definition of turbidity, then advances to more of a technical treatment of remediation tactics. Turbidity becomes a problem when there is an excess of total suspended solids in the water. As the chapter states, “Turbidity strongly affects water quality and, as a consequence, aquatic and terrestrial organisms. Evidence of the negative impacts of high turbidity in the past decades has been a major factor in U.S. environmental resources protection …” (p. 149).

A correctly deployed turbidity curtain promotes government compliance, prevention of fines and shutdowns, and protection of natural habitats.
Types and accessories

The chapter also details the different turbidity curtains used in various conditions:
  • Type 1 curtain, designed for calm water
  • Type 2 curtain, designed for slow-moving water
  • Type 3 curtain, designed for fast-moving water
  • Barge curtain, “a localized and specific turbidity control system designed to keep displaced sediment and solids contained during barge dredging operations” (p. 153).
The chapter includes an outline of the curtain system’s various elements: for example, floatation, tension cable, fabric, ballast, and reefing lines, anchor kits, and lights. The reader will also find information and instruction about installation, deployment, retrieval, maintenance, and inspection.

Book proceeds help the cause

The book is available in both English and Spanish. Proceeds from purchases of “Erosion Control and Land Restoration” go to SOIL Fund of the International Erosion Control Association. The fund promotes the science of erosion and sediment control, and works to improve lives adversely affected by erosion and sedimentation.

“Erosion Control and Land Restoration” is available on here.

Dewatering Products Can Keep Your Project Free of Costly Fines

Despite the economic benefits new housing or other construction projects can bring to a locale, there’s always a potential downside. Exposed soil and reshaped land are subject to erosion from stormwater runoff. All this water can have a disastrous impact on the environment. If unchecked, the flow into storm drains, sewers and trenches often contain such contaminants as sediment, silt, debris and chemical pollutants.

In waterways around the country, sediment pumped out or running off construction sites remains one of the most significant sources of water pollution. Suspended sediment diminishes water clarity, inhibits the growth of aquatic plants and can deprive fish of important food sources. In addition, phosphorus from construction site water often contributes to explosive algae growth. Like most ecological problems, all of these issues can ripple throughout the environment, disrupting sensitive life cycles and ecosystems.

Accordingly, government agencies at the state and federal level have tight standards for the quality of water pumped from sites during dewatering efforts. Contractors who run afoul of those regulations can find themselves in the midst of costly project delays and fines.
Leaving the sediment behind
There are cost-effective ways of accomplishing an environmentally responsible dewatering process. Dewatering bags are a common option to effectively trap silt and sediment while allowing water to escape through the bag’s geotextile material. The sediment-laden water is pumped into ports located on the bags. As the water passes through the bag’s filter fabric, suspended sediment particles are caught in the fabric. The bags fill with sediment over time. After the contents dry out, you can cut the bags open and redistribute the sediment.

GEI Works carries these bags in its Taurus line of dewatering products.
Tubes and socks
Some dewatering projects call for a substantially larger option to accommodate greater quantities of water – for example, the quantities found in agricultural ponds, paper mills, lagoons and aquaculture sites. Dewatering tubes have much larger capacities due to the strength of the woven geotextile material used. They are ideal for applications requiring large volumes of water to be processed.

For small-scale projects, a dewatering sock may be the best choice. The Taurus Dewatering Filter Socks are available in three diameters to fit different discharge pipes: 8-inch, 12-inch and 16-inch. As water passes through the sock, sediment and debris stay behind to help keep these materials from leaving the job site.

Contact GEI Works

There are many options for contractors trying to keep sediment and other pollutants out of waterways. Many can be used in concert with one another. But be sure to use a dewatering solution that’s effective for your particular application. The alternative can be a stiff fine or delay in your work: something nobody wants.

Contact the experts at GEI Works for more information on these products.

Seven Big Benefits of Corrugated Steel Tanks

Having a water storage solution is a critical part of any government emergency plan, a guard against utility failures or contamination of existing resources. Severe weather events, especially floods, can cut off the supply of safe drinking water to large populations. That’s where tanks play an important role. They dispense urgently needed water during crisis situations, quickly and reliably.

Above-ground tanks come in a wide range of materials, such as fiberglass, plastic, and steel. Some are collapsible, such as pillow tanks and onion tanks. These are good choices for fold-able, easy-to-store tanks that can come out at a moment’s notice.

Corrugated steel tanks, on the other hand, are a fixed, more permanent option.

Benefits of steel

There are many advantages to these galvanized storage tanks that make them the preferred solution in various applications. They are an excellent choice, not only for emergencies, but also on construction sites where they meet fire suppression requirements. Additionally, they often function as a means of rainwater collection and storage.

Corrugated steel tanks are easy to construct. Two technicians can usually erect one in a day’s time. The distinct benefits of these tanks include:
  1. Long life: Corrugated steel tanks have much greater lifespan than tanks made of plastic or concrete, which is why the ones available at GEI Works carry a 20-year warranty. Their durability and resistance to rust help give them superior longevity. With steel corrugated tanks, there’s no sensitivity to UV rays that break down other materials over time. The tanks stay in use after other products have long exceeded their lifecycles.
  2. Toughness: These tanks resist a number of environmental factors that can damage other models. The corrugated steel construction stands up well against high winds (up to 165 miles per hour), winter storms and even seismic activity. Such ruggedness is an important quality during disasters, when weather can exert great stress. The tank’s flexible PVC liner holds fluids without fracturing under environmental forces.
  3. High capacity: Corrugated steel tanks come in a range of standards sizes, with larger models holding up to 95,000 gallons. Regardless of need, there’s a tank size to fit each application.
  4. Ability to accommodate add-ons: With a corrugated steel tank, you can add a number of useful accessories – for example, side ladders, platforms, safety cages, handrails and seismic anchors.
  5. Affordability: Compared to other kinds of tanks with similar capacity – for example, one-piece steel tanks – the corrugated model is a highly, cost-effective option.
  6. Ease of shipping: The process of shipping corrugated steel tanks is simpler and more cost-effective than large, one-piece tanks. Because the corrugated steel tank is assembled on site, the shipping size is about 1 percent of its final size after installation.
  7. Wide range of uses: Corrugated tanks hold more than just water. Tank farms store oil, wastewater, sand, detergent, livestock feed, and many other products. These tanks are also used widely in fracking, mining and related operations. Such versatility makes corrugated steel tanks a popular choice for a broad array of uses.

Depending on your application, a corrugated steel tank may be the most suitable option for your needs. To find out more about storage tanks, contact the experts at GEI Works. Call (+1) 772-646-0597 or toll free at (888) 703-9889 for detailed information about these sturdy, versatile tanks.

Know Your Options for Natural and Synthetic Erosion Control

As rainwater pelts exposed soil at a job site, particularly on hills and slopes, it can cause a great deal of damaging erosion. There are many perimeter control products on the market – including erosion control blankets – designed to address this challenge. The question is, which are the most appropriate for use on a given job site? Is synthetic material more effective than natural fiber? What are some other considerations when using these products?

Erosion: the enemy

Erosion is a daunting problem, not just because it disturbs the land and alters its contours. Washed-out soil particles make their way into lakes, rivers, streams and other aquatic habitats, creating excess turbidity and endangering ecosystems. It’s a matter of first importance that contractors do everything in their power to prevent this process from disrupting the surrounding environment. Failure to control erosion can lead to steep fines and project delays, throwing your job off schedule and out of budget. That hurts a company’s bottom line, as well as its reputation in the community.

For many contractors, natural fiber products are the solutions of choice. The advantage such natural solutions as coir logs have over a simple silt fence is that you can leave the logs behind. They are completely biodegradable and help enrich the soil around them after breaking down. The geotextile silt fence is economical, but requires extra work in deployment, removal, storage and disposal.

Blankets promote stability
Erosion control blankets prevent runoff and allow vegetation to grow up through its fibers, promoting even greater stability for the soil. Your choice of a blanket will depend on several factors, including the time span the mat needs to remain on the site. If you need one to stay in place permanently, consider a UV-stabilized synthetic fiber. Unlike many of the others, this woven product will not break down and return to the soil. For that reason, it is not recommended for environmentally fragile areas, such as wetlands or other areas where wildlife may be affected adversely.

The natural blankets are made of earth-friendly materials. Jute is a strong vegetable fiber easily woven together into ground-stabilization products, while excelsior is made from long, smooth wood slivers. Coir is derived from the fibrous material inside the first shell of a coconut and GEI Works incorporates these materials into various products: mats, logs, blocks, wattles and silt checks.

Different blankets for different conditions

For steep, high-flow areas where you want blankets to remain long-term, there is a semi-permanent coir option that lasts from four to six years. The product keeps critical slopes intact long enough for vegetation to take root and gain a lasting foothold.  

There is also a semi-temporary coir mat that breaks down in nine to 24 months. Made of 70-percent straw and 30-percent coconut fiber, these blankets are stitched between two organic jute nets. For shorter-term control in areas with low slopes, there are models available that break down in only six months; you can choose from jute, straw or excelsior mats.

Best management practices

After selecting the appropriate erosion control blanket for your application, remove rocks, debris and other materials that impede the blanket’s contact with the soil. These mats are not suitable for use in rocky areas. Anchor the blanket to the soil using wire staples as recommended. Avoid use in areas where the vegetation will be subject to mowing, otherwise the mower may contact the staples.

Be sure to inspect the materials during installation and after significant rainfall. Always compact the soil again in areas that have suffered erosion.

Contact us

By determining the right product for the job and installing it properly, you can more successfully slow or stall the pervasive erosion process that afflicts construction sites. Our technical support staff is standing by to help. For more information on our line of erosion control solutions, contact the experts at GEI Works.

Reap the Benefits of Inspecting and Maintaining Your Turbidity Curtain

A turbidity curtain keeps working 24 hours a day, so it’s important to take good care of it. A little common sense can help maximize the longevity of your investment and prevent failure.

Turbidity curtains are like any other product: The more vigilant you are in maintaining it, the better the performance and the less chance of damage or excessive wear. The time invested in maintenance will pay dividends. And the process is simple if you follow some straightforward steps.

Frequency of inspection

The first question is, how often? The answer depends on where the turbidity curtain is installed and the application. In more demanding environments, such as marine applications with heavy traffic, you’ll need to inspect the curtain much more often. In conditions of high winds, currents or strong wave action, the recommended inspection frequency is daily.

On the other hand, if you’re using a turbidity curtain in calm water with minimal traffic and fairly mild waves, every two to three weeks is OK. But make sure the time doesn’t slip away and you forget about it. A curtain in calm water still needs a periodic check.

Another consideration is the discharge if the curtain is being used in the dewatering process. In that case, it’s important to check for sediment buildup weekly.

In the event of a storm

If your site is in the path of an impending storm, it’s recommended that you remove the curtain before the inclement weather hits. If you can’t remove it in time, be sure to furl the skirt.

Should a severe storm strike before you can remove the curtain, you should inspect it afterward to make sure there is no damage.

Retrieval: Exercise care

Mishandling can itself result in damage, so be cautious when removing a turbidity curtain from the water. Planning and preparation are crucial here: Develop a coherent strategy for removing the curtain and always communicate it with the crew before the retrieval process begins. It should be a tightly coordinated effort, preceded by training for everyone involved.

Checking over your curtain

First, inspect the turbidity curtain for any marine growth. Aquatic organisms that fasten to solid objects can establish themselves in a brief time span. Locate and clean off any marine growth that appears on your curtain to stave off future problems.

Look over the entire curtain to see if floating logs or other debris have caused any tears or punctures. The force of such objects can abrade or even punch holes in your curtain, causing the turbid water to pass through unabated into the surrounding area. Also inspect for any rips at the connectors.

Remember, the proper height of a turbidity curtain is one foot from the bottom. You’ll want to check to determine whether the lowest part of the curtain has dropped or is buried in the sediment. If so, this will seriously impede its proper functioning.

Checking buoys, lines, anchors

Inspect and remove any marine growth from mooring lines, connections and buoys, replacing them if excessive damage exists. If you have special accessories – lights or marine buoys, for example – give them a quick once-over to see if the batteries, solar elements or bulbs are working as they should.
Inspect your anchoring carefully. Make sure the lines in the assemblies aren’t parted and that the anchor hasn’t shifted its position significantly. It may be useful to re-position and re-tension your anchors on occasion.

Keep the curtain working for you  

A properly functioning turbidity curtain can save a contractor from needless fines and project delays. Scheduling regular, proactive checks and quickly dealing with any damage will help the product perform optimally.

Contact the experts at GEI Works with any questions you may have about turbidity curtain maintenance. Call (+1) 772-646-0597 or toll free at (888) 701-9889.