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Silt Curtain



Our Silt Curtain is a floating turbidity curtain that is used at construction sites located in protected water areas that are exposed to lighter winds and currents. The Silt Curtain is a barrier used to section off a body of water to prevent sediment and erosion from construction sites from mixing into the larger body of water.

The curtains are available in various depths in 50' lengths and in three DOT grade levels:

Type 1 DOT curtains are typically used in canals, small ponds, and small lakes with calm conditions.

Type 2 DOT curtains are often used in rivers, harbors, and ports with little wind and current (maximum of 1.5 knots and up to 3 ft waves).

Type 3 DOT curtains are the most heavy duty option and are typically used in rivers, harbors, or inter-coastal waterways with moderate currents.

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  • This is the most frequently specified barrier in the TOUGH GUY® barrier line. It is recommended for construction sites located in protected areas that are exposed only to light winds and to current velocities of less than one foot per second.
  • This type of site may include ponds, shallow lakes, small streams and marshes.
  • Anchorage consisting of stakes or concrete blocks may be required to maintain the barrier in its required position. Barrier sections are connected by rope lacing or nylon ties and supplied separately.

Why Buy Turbidity Curtains from Paramount Materials?

  • We only sell the Tough Guy brand commercial-grade curtains which are made in the USA. Widely regarded as the “go to brand” for quality and strict adherence to stated specifications.
  • We do not sell "no-name" or "off-brand" curtains. These economy curtains often claim to meet spec but due to oversees manufacturing variances sometimes do not, leaving the installer exposed to potential fines and project delays.
  • When you call, we answer. When you call Paramount Materials you get a live person quickly, ready to help with product or order questions. (M-F 5:00 am - 3:00 pm Pacific Time)

Looking for a Custom Depth Or Length Barrier?

Custom sizes are available on orders of 5+ barriers. Request Quote >

Silt Curtain Along River Bank

Turbidity Curtain Along Waterway

Silt Curtains: An Overview

Due to the impact on the environment and further demands associated with pollution, silt curtains are being used in a wide variety of construction projects. Silt curtains were originally designed to contain the spread of sediment during dredging and reclamation. They are now used for dewatering, outfall containment to intake protection, stormwater management, the reduction of agricultural impact, and many other purposes.

During times when sediment control was needed for marine environments, the first approach is to identify the range and objectives that are achieved by using silt curtains also called a floating silt barrier. Some examples include stopping the spread of potential heavy metals or contaminants and reducing turbidity outside of the contaminant areas. Having the correct design, layout, and anchoring configuration is very important to ensure silt curtains achieve an effective solution. There are many factors that influence design and anchoring from current and wave height to water depth, location, conditions of the seabed, the equipment, configuration of the layout, the kind of construction work needed, the type of sediment, and environmental regulations.

As with many things, one size does not fit all. Each design has many factors that are important to a project's specific conditions and requirements.  An individual appraisal will dictate the right silt curtain for the best results. As an example, a bespoke barrier with interchangeable depths can be a flexible and potent solution to meet environmental and operational requirements such as dredging and dewatering.

Within the dredging industry, whether it's hydraulic dredging or mechanical dredging, all projects are subject to a level of particle suspension. From the construction of ports or land reclamation, all systems are used to contain particle or contaminant suspension, but silt curtains are the most economical and environmentally friendly answers. In Europe, silt curtains are used for maintenance dredging of areas that have high concentrations of pollutants including chemicals and heavy metals in marine sediments.  As European rivers are high in turbidity, containing these elements focuses more on the reduction of turbidity due to other circumstances such as bank erosion and stormwater pollution.

Installing a Silt Curtain

Workers Installing a Silt Curtain

Type 1 Turbidity Curtain

A Type 1 Turbidity Curtain

Long-Term Sustainability and Ecosystem Protection

One of the leading benefits of collecting turbid water is to limit fine material from traveling to areas such as ecologically sensitive habitats, sea-grass meadows, corals, mangrove forests, and shellfish beds. Other sensitive areas include socio-economic benefits and water intakes used for desalination or cooling water. In Europe, another benefit is to hold back floating pollutants as oil at the top of the curtain is usually made from the same or similar material as an oil boom.

Using a secure silt curtain can protect and maintain the marine ecosystems so they will stay healthy, thriving, and undisturbed. In addition, Silt Curtains have long-term sustainable benefits, they are incredibly strong, and can be reused instead of ending up in a landfill. Sustainability is now a requirement for investment which is another important factor.

Due to future innovations, the growth of silt curtains is on the rise. In recent years, the demand has grown for silt curtains for more innovative ideas.  These will include containing fertilization runoff in rivers and estuaries from farming waste while allowing agriculture to reduce its impact on the environment.  Silt curtains are now being used in land reclamation in Asia and in marine construction in various locations around Europe. There is a significant need for their use in shoreline restoration projects where land has been destroyed by storms.

In Conclusion

As we are seeing more ambitious construction projects that require more innovative ideas, you will see more marine protection barriers popping up globally. Working closer with engineering teams to understand all factors behind a project and the design, the more likely we can push the boundaries for silt curtain uses.