By Don Lindsey
Mother Nature’s fury with floods, wildfires, tropical storms, earthquakes, and hurricanes can cause extensive damage. This damage, if left unattended, can lead to erosion. Let me share a personal story.
SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE
As a young boy, I grew up in the Cascade mountains in Western Oregon and saw first-hand how a series of torrential downpours slowly weakened the earth to the point that thousands of metric tons of earth along with BIG Douglas fir trees, 36 to 60 inches in circumference and stood over 100 feet tall, suddenly came careening down what seemingly was a stable hillside. Boulders the size of small houses tumbled down like pebbles and eventually rested along with a mountain of mud, trees, and debris, blocking the main artery that fed our small community. In the blink of an eye, my small community was completely isolated. Why? Simply because mother-nature decided to unload such a huge amount of water the mountainside just could not hold.
Even here in wet Western Oregon where massive amounts of rainfall each year, we find ourselves complacently thinking the land can handle whatever nature throws at it and to then be suddenly shaken to our core in a hot second. In this particular situation, the earth had its fill of water and something had to give. We thank the man above no one was in the path of this flood of debris as it raced down the mountainside. It took two sets of crews and equipment working 24 hours per day on opposite ends of the slide several days just to open up a narrow single lane of traffic and many more days for the rains to subside and the entire blockage to be completely cleared so our small community could return back to our “normal” country lives.
However, a continuing problem remained, which was how to stabilize what had become a very unstable mountain. Fortunately, engineers and erosion experts along with some very creative contractors were able to develop a plan to stabilize the area and thwart any future slides. Today, only those of us around back in those days are able to recognize the overgrown indentation in the mountainside and remember the havoc it once caused. Most people unknowingly drive on by but for a few of us, we remember the day severe erosion occurred and in an instant, half the mountain was gone.
EROSION CONTROL MATTERS
Sudden erosion catches even the best and most prepared experts by surprise. The wet soil, lack of hydroseeding by state governments, which was once an annual program in many states, over-building and excessive construction, combined with poor land practices, bring to the forefront potential issues that could lead to an unstable surface, releasing tons of mud, rock, debris, and water sliding down the hillside. It is not until devastation like this occurs that we take notice, which is why erosion and how to effectively control it is an important focus. One particular area of interest is in Southern California where the wildfires occurred last year. This burn-off caused an unstable ground surface, and if left unattended, this instability could become a real problem.
Putting forth erosion control methods can be challenging for even the most experienced contractor, and in most cases, traditional trucks and equipment are unable to access hard to reach areas and deal with erosion at the source, leaving contractors searching for answers.
Work trucks are just not built for off-highway use and the fragile ground needing attention is much too unstable for the massive size and daunting weight of traditional heavy equipment. Having the right tools and equipment makes all the difference.
ENTER CONVEYOR APPLICATION SYSTEMS
CAS® has several distinct solutions to help with the war on erosion. On the Slinger side is a line of Off-Road Slinging Equipment and on the Blower side is its line of factory-reconditioned Blower Trucks. While both are extremely effective in their own way, Slingers, specifically the Slinger Equipment fleet, are specifically engineered to deal with the erosion issue head-on. The CAS AT7 is equipped with an all-wheel-drive independent steering capability, which makes navigating most terrain a simple task, and when equipped with the optional flotation tires, this “light at a feather” platform is perfect when soft and/or unstable ground exists. For those “extreme” cases, the CAS TR20 can now be equipped with rubber or metal tracks for the most difficult terrain. The TR20 emits a mere 4 to 7 pounds of ground pressure per square inch, which allows this specialty piece of equipment, which is equipped with a 10-yard hopper and has a gross vehicle weight rating of 50,000 lbs, to operate where most equipment just cannot operate.
Once at the precise location, the material placement process begins. CAS off-road Slingers can precisely place material in areas unreachable by traditional equipment. Whether placing material on hillsides, in overgrown brush, or on a flat sandy beach, CAS Slingers are equipped to place a wide range of materials to include rock, soil, mulch, and sand. In addition, Conveyor Application Systems’ proprietary wireless technology allows for machine and operator to be positioned up to 900 feet apart and with the CAS Slingers ability to “place” or as we like to call it “sling” material up to 160 feet, an operator can stand at a preferred vantage point while the Slinger does all the work.
The CAS factory-reconditioned pneumatic blower trucks are designed to move a variety of organic materials to difficult and/or hard-to-reach areas even at great distances, making them perfect for the installation of large erosion control blankets or sediment control berms. Used to apply compost, soil blends, mulches, and aggregates, the blower trucks save time and labor, and increase business versatility and profitability.
Protecting our environment is multifaceted and controlling erosion will become more difficult for us all moving forward, but when armed with CAS Slingers or Blower Trucks, contractors now have the right tools for the job.
About the author
Don Lindsey is the director of sales and marketing with Conveyor Application Systems (CAS). For more information about the solutions offered by CAS for placement of materials, visit www.slingers.com and www.usedblowertrucks.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, July 2019
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