#SB1612 Soil Binders

BMP Fact Sheet (EC-5)

Soil binders are a temporary soil stabilization practice used to combat erosion on construction sites. They may be applied alone or in combination with mulching or hydro-seeding applications. Soil binders are mixtures that are applied to areas where the soil has been disturbed and work has temporarily stopped. Such cases include rough graded soils, exposed slopes, and final graded lots.

Soil binders are most suitable in situations where temporary soil cover is needed. According to the Construction General Permit, disturbed areas that are not scheduled to be disturbed for at least 14 days are inactive and therefore require temporary stabilization. In these cases, soil binders are often a cost effective, suitable solution.

Selecting a Soil Binder

Not all soil binders are created equal, and it is important to select the right one. Soil binders vary in longevity, suitable soil type and cost. Therefore, it is important to consult with your erosion control provider to choose a soil binder that meets your site’s needs. A key component of soil binders is the tackifier, or glue material that holds the soil together. Soil binders that do not include a tackifier are far less effective in a rain event.

Prior to selecting a soil binder, check with state and local jurisdictions to ensure that the chemicals used in the soil binders are allowed. The water quality impacts of some types of soil binders are relatively unknown and may not be allowed. After selecting a suitable soil binder, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for soil preparation such as pre-wetting and roughening embankments. In addition, allow for sufficient drying time before anticipated rainfall.

Soil Binder Types

  • Plant-based
    • Longevity: short
    • Cost per acre: $800-1,000
  • Cementitious-based
    • Longevity: medium
    • Cost per acre: $900-1,400
  • Polymeric Emulsion
    • Longevity: long
    • Cost per acre: $800-1,600