Turbidity curtains: All to know about

If you are planning to set up a construction site near a water body, you will need to take measures to prevent sediment from entering the water. Turbidity curtains are one of the most effective ways to do this.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what turbidity curtains are, how they work, and some of the benefits of using them.

What are Turbidity Curtains?

Turbidity curtains are a pollution control method used to contain sediment and other pollutants in water. They are essentially barriers that are used to contain sediment and debris in the water.

turbidity curtain

Turbidity curtains are an essential tool for protecting waterways from sediment pollution.

In most cases, turbidity curtains are used in conjunction with other sediment management practices, such as sediment basins and silt fences.

How do Turbidity Curtains Work?

Turbidity curtains are used to contain sediment and suspended particles in water. They are typically deployed in areas where there is a risk of sediment-laden water entering a sensitive area, such as a construction site.

The curtains are made of a sturdy fabric and are weighed down with lead/ballast chains or sandbags.

Turbidity curtains create a physical barrier that blocks sediment and debris from entering a waterway. The curtains also help to dissipate waves and prevent shore erosion.

Turbidity curtains are an effective way to protect the environment from sediment pollution. They are easy to install and can be used in a variety of different settings.

How are Turbidity Curtains Made?

Turbidity curtains are made from a variety of materials, depending on the application.

For example, if the curtain will be used in freshwater, a polypropylene fabric is suitable. If the curtain will be used in salt water, PVC-coated polyester fabric is perfect.

The fabric is then cut to the desired size and sewn together to form the curtain. They typically range in height from 5 to 50 feet and can be up to 1,000 feet long.

Turbidity curtains typically have grommets along the top and bottom so they can be easily attached to a cable or rope. The curtains can also be weighted with chains or other materials to help keep them in place.

Types of Turbidity Curtains

There are three main types of turbidity curtains: Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3.

Type 1

Type 1 turbidity curtains are the most common type of curtain. They are made of a strong, woven fabric designed to withstand standard winds and waves.

Type 1 curtains are typically used in calm waters with minimal currents or waves.


  • The fabric material is usually foam-filled floats
  • This fabric material is lightweight
  • The maximum current for Type 1 turbidity curtain is 0 feet per second
  • Type 1 turbidity curtains are the most economical
  • The height of standard turbidity type 1 turbidity curtains is 5-20 feet

Type 2

Type 2 turbidity curtains are made of a lighter-weight fabric. They are often used in areas with moving water or in areas where the water level fluctuates.

Type 2 turbidity curtains can also be used in conjunction with Type 1 turbidity curtains to provide extra protection.


  • Type 2 turbidity curtain is foam-filled floats and aluminum end connectors reinforced with side beams
  • The fabric material is heavier than type 1 but not as heavy as type 3
  • Type 2 turbidity curtains have a ballast chain for enhanced strength
  • The height of standard turbidity type 2 curtains is 5-50 feet
  • The maximum current for type 2 turbidity curtains is 3-4 feet per second

Type 3

Type 3 turbidity curtains are made of a material designed to dissolve in water. They are typically used in areas where there is a concern about high turbulence water and wind exposure.


  • Type 3 turbidity curtain material is foam-filled floats and aluminum end connectors reinforced with side beams
  • The material for this turbidity curtain fabric is the heaviest
  • Type 3 turbidity curtains also have a ballast chain for strength and stability
  • The height of standard turbidity type 3 curtains is 5-50 feet
  • The maximum current for type 3 turbidity curtain is 5 feet per second

Permeable VS Impermeable turbidity curtains

A permeable turbidity curtain allows water to pass through while filtering silt and sediment.

On the other hand, impermeable turbidity curtains block both water and sediment.

In addition to their unique functions, permeable and impermeable turbidity curtains come in two different types of materials.

A permeable turbidity curtain is made from geotextile, whereas an impermeable turbidity curtain is typically made from PVC.

Please note: Regardless of the type, all turbidity curtains are made following standard local depth requirements, water area conditions, and required turbidity.

Choosing the Right Turbidity Curtain

There are several factors to consider when choosing a turbidity curtain, including the size of the area to be protected, the turbidity curtain material, and the type of sediment.

The most effective turbidity curtain type for a particular application will vary depending on these factors.

Size of area protected

When choosing a turbidity curtain, it’s essential to consider the size of the protected area.

The length, width, and depth of the protected area will all play a role in determining the size of the curtain you need.

  • Length: The length of the curtain should be at least twice the length of the protected area.
  • Width: The width of the curtain should be the same as the width of the protected area.
  • Depth: The depth of the curtain should be at least 1.5 times the depth of the protected area.

Turbidity curtain material

Turbidity curtains are manufactured in a variety of materials, including polypropylene, PVC-coated polyester, and high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

The choice of material is dictated by the application and the water conditions. For example, HDPE is the preferred material for turbidity curtains used in salt water because it’s resistant to degradation from UV light.

To ensure that a turbidity curtain meets the specific needs of a project, it’s essential to work with a local company that specializes in manufacturing these products.

This way, you can have a custom turbidity curtain that best suits your needs.

Type of sediment

There are three main types of sediment: silt, clay, and sand. Each type of sediment requires a different type of curtain.

Silt is the smallest type of sediment, and it’s generally found in river or lake water.

Clay is a step up from silt in terms of size, and it’s often found in marine environments. Sand is the largest type of sediment, and it can be found in both freshwater and saltwater environments.

Turbidity Curtain Installation

Turbidity curtains are typically deployed in one of two ways: they can be placed on the water’s surface, or they can be submerged.

Submerged turbidity curtains are more effective at containing sediment, but they can also be more expensive to deploy.

Turbidity curtain installation and detailing is a critical part of any construction project near water. Improper installation or poor barrier quality can result in sediment being released into the environment, which can cause water quality problems and harm aquatic life.

In order to avoid these problems, it’s crucial to choose a qualified contractor who has experience installing turbidity curtains and who can provide a quality product.

Turbidity Curtains: Uses

Turbidity curtains are used in construction sites, around docks and marinas, and in other areas where there is a potential for water pollution.

Turbidity curtains have a variety of uses, including:

1. Preventing sediment from entering a body of water during construction

2. Trapping pollutants and debris

3. Slowing the spread of algal blooms

4. Protecting sensitive aquatic habitats

5. Controlling erosion

6. Managing stormwater runoff

Pros and Cons of Turbidity Curtains


There are many benefits to using turbidity curtains. Some of the most notable benefits include:

  • Turbidity curtains can significantly reduce the amount of sediment and silt in the water.
  • They can protect the quality and clarity of water and prevent environmental damage.
  • Turbidity curtains can be used in a variety of settings, including construction sites, ponds, and lakes.
  • They provide a barrier to aquatic pests and invasive species.
  • They improve swimming and fishing conditions.
  • They are a safe and effective method of controlling turbidity.


While turbidity curtains can be an effective way to control sediment in construction sites, there are some potential drawbacks to using them.

  • Turbidity curtains can block sunlight from reaching aquatic plants and animals, which can impact the local ecosystem.
  • They can be expensive to purchase and install and need to be regularly maintained.
  • If not properly installed or maintained, turbidity curtains can break free and become a navigation hazard for boats.
  • One of the biggest drawbacks to turbidity curtains is that they can actually increase the amount of sediment in the water. This is because the turbidity curtains can catch sediment that would otherwise settle at the bottom of the water body.
  • Turbidity curtains can also increase the number of nutrients in the water, which can lead to algae blooms.
  • Turbidity curtains can also interfere with the natural flow of water, which can lead to erosion and other problems.

What is the difference between turbidity curtains and silt curtains?

Turbidity curtains and silt curtains are two types of barriers that are used to control water pollution.

Turbidity curtains are typically used in open water areas to contain sediment and debris. In contrast, silt curtains are used in more confined areas, such as near construction sites or near marinas.

Silt curtains are usually made of a more durable fabric and are designed to withstand more wear and tear. They also have a heavier weight, which helps to keep them in place in more turbulent waters.

On the other hand, turbidity curtains are typically made of a lighter fabric and are not as durable. Type 1 and type 2 turbidity curtains are also not as effective in high winds and waves.

How long do turbidity curtains last?

Turbidity curtains are designed to last for many years with proper care and maintenance. However, the lifespan of a turbidity curtain will vary depending on the type of curtain and the conditions it is used in.

Turbidity curtains exposed to harsh weather or chemicals will not last as long as those used in more protected environments.

With proper care, a turbidity curtain can last for several years. To extend the life of your turbidity curtain, be sure to clean it regularly and inspect it for damage. If you notice any holes or tears, be sure to repair them right away.

In general, turbidity curtains should be replaced every 3-5 years to ensure they are effective at reducing turbidity.

How much do turbidity curtains cost?

Turbidity curtains vary in price depending on the construction site’s size and the curtain’s length. Some companies will charge by the linear foot, while others will charge a flat rate for the entire turbidity curtain.

For a standard construction site, the cost of a turbidity curtain can range from $500 to $5,000. The average cost of a turbidity curtain is between $0.50 and $2.00 per square foot.

What is a turbidity boom?

A turbidity boom is a type of water treatment device used to remove suspended solids from water.

It’s a relatively simple device consisting of a floating barrier placed in a body of water. The barrier traps the suspended solids as the water flows through it, allowing the solids to be removed from the water.

Turbidity booms are often used in rivers and lakes to remove sediment and other pollutants from the water. They are also used in coastal areas to reduce the water’s turbidity.

To Sum it up

When it comes to environmental pollution, turbidity curtains are an effective way to contain and control it. In a nutshell, turbidity curtains are used to contain sediment and other contaminants that can harm the environment.

The barriers are made of a variety of materials, and they come in a variety of sizes and shapes. To sum it up, turbidity curtains are an effective way to control pollution and should be used wherever water pollution occurs.