Silt Curtain FAQs

Silt Curtain FAQs

How do silt curtains work?

Silt curtains create a flexible, water permeable barrier that extends to the base of the body of water, where it is typically anchored or weighted to prevent the silt curtain from moving. Construction and demolition sites that see an excess of disturbed silt may install these barriers along the shoreline. Silt curtains create a limited area for the silt to settle, allowing most areas to remain unaffected by silt.


Where are silt curtains used?

Silt curtains may be used wherever sediment or other harmful materials may be entering an environment. Silt commonly results from construction near aquatic environments. In such cases, implementing a silt curtain is an effective way to prevent harm to aquatic life. Silt curtains may be used in a variety of locations, from ponds and lakes, to harbors and inner-coastal sites.


Why are silt curtains needed?

Silt curtains play an important role in protecting aquatic environments. During construction, demolition, and dredging, dislodged sediment, rocks and other material may harm plant and animal life. Silt curtains prevent harm to these aquatic environments. Suspended silt causes issue by decreasing the water’s clarity. Cloudy or murky water blocks normal sunlight from reaching aquatic life and may increase difficulty for fish to navigate. Over time, increased stress leads to higher mortality rates in fish. As sediment finally settles, it may bury eggs and newly hatched larvae.


What types of silt curtains exist?

There are three major groups of silt curtains, type I, II, and III. Type I silt curtains are ideal for use in calm waters and smaller construction sites. Type II silt curtains are designed for use where there is faster moving water and small waves. The most heavy-duty silt curtains, type III are used in locations with high winds, fast moving water and large waves.


What options are available in a customized silt curtain?

Silt curtains are typically supplied in 50 or 100 foot sections. Total length of a silt curtain will depend on project demands. Silt curtain fabric may vary in terms of durability and skirt type (filtration or solid fabric). When waves or fast moving water are present, it may be useful to add tension cables or taller floats. Silt curtains also come in a variety of bright colors to warn others of their presence.


What factors are considered in choosing the right type of silt curtain?

Choosing the correct type of silt curtain may mean the difference between a successful containment and a failed attempt. Silt curtain type depends on two main components: water and site environments. It is important to factor water flow rates, wave height and frequency, water type (salt or fresh water) and tides if applicable when deciding which silt curtain to employ. Likewise, the wind speed and direction, project type and duration, and particle size and contamination level will also help choose the correct silt curtain.


Are silt curtains only used in water?

Silt curtains are a type of sediment barrier for cases in which silt may be introduced to an aquatic environment. While silt curtains are for water use, there are a variety of other ‘sediment barriers’ for other settings. Staked fencing, straw wattles and even hay bales are used as sediment barriers on land. Land based sediment barriers redirect and protect runoff water from pollution.


How do silt curtains differ from containment booms?

Silt curtains and containment booms are similar in principle: they each consist of a boom and skirt which helps contain pollutants. However, while a containment boom skirt extends only a few feet through the water, a silt curtain reaches to the bottom of the body of water. This is an important difference because containment booms are used to corral surface oil slicks; silt curtains are used to contain suspended silt, which may be found in any depth of water.


What is a silt curtain made of?

Silt curtains consist of a floating boom at the surface, and a skirt below that extends through the water. The skirt may either be a solid or filtering fabric depending on the application. The bottom of the silt curtain is typically anchored or tethered to the lake, river or ocean bed.


Which type of silt curtains does ACME carry?

ACME manufactures and carries both solid fabric skirt and filter screen skirt silt curtains. As user specifics often vary from site to site, ACME can also custom build a silt curtain to ensure maximum sediment control.