In many countries a silt curtain is compulsory before starting mechanical work in water
From its factory in Zaragoza, Spain, Markleen supplies a wide range of silt curtains to construction companies throughout the world.
The aim of a silt curtain (also known as a silt screen or turbidity curtain) is to contain material in suspension coming from construction and dredging work taking place in ports, harbours, rivers and along coastlines, to prevent it from spreading to beaches or ecologically sensitive areas. A properly designed and deployed silt curtain will significantly reduce the presence of silt and sediments outside the area from where they originate.
In many countries it is now compulsory to have a silt curtain in place before starting any mechanical work in water.
What is a silt curtain?
A silt curtain is a porous geotextile skirt of the desired depth, joined to a floating element, which remains vertical when deployed in water.
Where can I use a silt curtain?
Due to the fact that port dredging and construction work usually takes place in sheltered or semi-sheltered waters, these environments are usually suitable for the deployment of a silt curtain. The presence of large waves or strong currents can limit the efficiency of a silt curtain, as it compromises its ability to contain the silt and sediments.
How is a silt curtain installed?
It is important to realise that the aim is not to completely seal the construction area over the full depth of the water column, but to position the silt curtain in such a way as to reduce as much as possible the spreading of particles in suspension beyond the screen. Any dirt churned up in the water will by nature tend to return to the sea bed (or river bed), and the further away we are from the mechanical work, less dirt will be present in the water. For this reason the silt curtain does not need to come into contact with the sea bed, as the sediments which will potentially travel the furthest are those nearest the top of the water column. In fact, we recommend a gap of at least 50 cm is left between the bottom of the silt curtain and the sea bed to prevent the curtain getting caught on the sea bed and possibly suffering damage.
Silt curtains usually come in depths ranging from 2 to 6 metres, depending on the depth of the water where they are used. If the waters are very deep this does not necessarily mean that the silt curtain should be of a similar depth. If we opt to use a very deep silt curtain it is important that the waters are very quiet, otherwise the silt curtain will tend to float upwards, which will be counterproductive in our efforts to contain materials in suspension. And we should also not forget that the deeper a silt curtain, the larger the floating element on the surface will need to be.
What can Markleen offer?
Markleen manufactures oil spill booms and silt curtains with replaceable, recyclable floats, as well as silt curtains with inflatable floatation via a hose.
Contact us for advice on the best solution for the case in hand, if possible with information on the length of the silt curtain, the depth of the water and environmental conditions.