Inlet Protection at Construction Sites

The Importance of Protecting Inlets to Maintain Water Quality

Have you ever seen barriers placed over storm drains in and around active construction sites? Wondered what they are and why they’re there? Those barriers are called stormwater inlet protection, and they act as a temporary sediment control measure designed to prevent contaminant-laden stormwater from entering public storm drains around active construction sites.

City regulations mandate that contractors and developers adhere to these protective measures whenever construction activities are underway in the vicinity. Disturbed soils have the potential to impact stormwater conveyance and quality. Sediment entering storm drains can lead to blockages, resulting in costly damage and repairs. Not only can contaminants impair water quality, but they can also adversely affect wildlife. Consequently, the installation and maintenance of these protective mechanisms are of paramount importance throughout the entirety of the construction process.

What Do They Look Like?

There are various forms of inlet protection, but they often take the form of a fabric-wrapped tube filled with rock aggregates. Positioned in a distinctive “U” formation in front of storm drains, these protective structures serve as buffers during intense rainfall events. They work by slowing down the water, allowing sediment and contaminants to settle out before entering the storm drain. It is not uncommon to observe pooled water accumulating in front of these inlets. However, when installed and maintained properly with overflows, they do not impede the functionality of the storm drains and should never cause plugs or other drainage problems.

How You Can Help

If you find yourself residing in or visiting an area where such protective measures are deployed, it is imperative that you refrain from tampering with them. Any inquiries or concerns regarding these inlet protections should be directed to the developer or contractor responsible for the construction site. By respecting and upholding these protective measures, we collectively contribute to the preservation of water quality and the safeguarding of our natural environment.

Chad Van Buskirk


(605) 361-8211



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