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Eroded soil surface, rill erosion on ground surface


Types of Soil Erosion

Erosion is the loss of soil due to the detachment, transport,  and deposition of soil particles on the land surface.  Erosion is powered by water, one of earth's most destructive forces.  If unstopped, erosion is unforgiving and progresses over time. 

The main effect of erosion at residential sites is that it changes topography of the ground surface, resulting in increased drainage problems.

Damage to structures due to erosion of soil does not necessarily mean that there is a construction defect.  However, early-onset or excessive damage to pavements, retaining walls, and buildings is a key indicator that the condition may be due to a construction defect. 

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Sheet erosion is the detachment and removal of soil particles by raindrop impact and sheet water flow down a slope.  Sheet erosion is a precursor to rill erosion.

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Rills are small channels eroded into the soil surface by water.

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Gulleys are channels eroded into the soil surface by water.  They can vary in size but are larger than rills.

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Splash Erosion is caused by splash-back from flowing water.  A small depression forms in bare soil as a result of water falling from a height and increases in size as the problem persists.

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Sheet, rill, and gulley erosion results in the transport of soil particles to downstream locations.

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The establishment of vegetation is an important aspect of the control of erosion on slopes.  Vegetation helps maintain the integrity of the ground surface and prevents erosion.  If drainage is not properly controlled, vegetation will not thrive, and erosion will persist and get worse over time.   Well-established groundcover and landscaping are critical for soil erosion mitigation.

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