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How Can Urban Construction Cause Soil Erosion?

Unlike ever before, the world population is growing and new communities are being developed across large cities. According to a recent survey, nearly 4.1 billion people live in urban areas and 3.4 billion people live in rural areas. This means that over half of the world (55%) now live in cities and outlying suburbs. Understanding how urban construction can cause soil erosion is important, especially as the construction industry continues to grow.

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Erosion Effects of Urbanization

In rural and urban areas, soil erosion can be viewed quite differently. Although many acres of land remain untouched by humans, rural areas experience erosion that affects vegetable and natural weathering. Urban areas, in contrast, experiencing soil erosion can face potential flooding and air pollution due to the limited amount of space. In order to prevent erosion in your construction projects, it’s important to understand the various erosion effects that often result.

  • Sedimentation
  • Air & Water Pollution
  • Land Disturbance


Sedimentation occurs when soil or sand particles gather at the bottom of a body of water. In urban settings, construction sites generally introduce large amounts of concrete and toxic building materials into an environment. When weather patterns carry these particles to nearby rivers, lakes, and streams, it can be destructive for society. Unfortunately, a buildup of sediment in urban storm drains increases the risk of major flooding.

Air & Water Pollution

As new developments are constructed, decreased air quality and water runoff is a major concern. Urbanization brings a number of polluting substances that inevitably enter the water streams of nearby bodies of water. Between infecting drinking water and affecting aquatic life, health problems can result because of nearby urban construction.

Land Disturbance

Above all, the effect of soil erosion associated with suburban development is the disturbance of land. Large office buildings, residential communities, and transportation systems all required moving tons of topsoil to make room for the new construction. Not only does this increase the risk of sedimentation, but it completely alters the natural environment of vegetation and wildlife.

Pro Tip: If you’re working near a body of water, weather conditions can spread your construction site materials. Install a water-inflated dam to keep water from entering your worksite.

Erosion & Flood Control Solutions

Our population will continue to grow, and the number of towns and cities will keep increasing during our lifetime. It’s important for urban construction projects to understand the risks associated with soil erosion and plan accordingly. Having a flood control system that will minimize the amount of disruption from your projects is an important place to start.

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