What Kind of Ditches Need Liners?

Not all ditches share the same dimensions, volume, erosion resistance, and seasonal demand. However, they do share similar needs for lining and water loss control. Regardless of the size or purpose of the ditch, it’s likely to perform better and last longer with less maintenance when lined with flexible geomembrane materials like RPE. Without the extra step of installing a flexible liner, the uncovered ditch rapidly loses soil and eventually becomes clogged by collapsed, undercut banks or accumulated debris. Make sure to invest in ditch lining for the following types of water control structures to keep them working properly for years to come.

Agricultural Irrigation Ditches

Fed by larger irrigation canals, millions of miles of agricultural ditches are in use across the globe. These channels can deliver water to other irrigation equipment like drip lines and sprinklers or soak directly into the ground for subsurface delivery. When used to transport water over dozens, or even hundreds of miles, these ditches perform better when lined. Liners like multi-layered RPE prevent water loss along the way due to seepage through bare soil. More water reaches the fields, resulting in less pumping needed at the well or aquifer supplying the irrigation system. In arid areas, where every drop of water is needed for crop growth, irrigation ditch lining is practically essential.

Field, Storm and Road Drainage Ditches

In addition to carrying water where it’s needed the most, ditches are also widely used for removing water when it’s unwanted. Drainage ditches are an essential part of every rural area’s stormwater management system and they’re also used in many urban areas in connection with larger storm drains and catchments. These drainage channels are commonly damaged by erosion when left without a protective liner. The scouring effect of sudden flows, from seasonal rainstorms, removes a lot of silt and soil from the channel’s bottom and banks. With a liner in place, these roadside and field drainage ditches stay intact and are less likely to clog with silt or plant debris. Liners also help keep tree roots out; another common problem that slowly reduces the effectiveness of drainage ditches over time.

Wastewater Transport Ditches

When wastewater is generated by industrial or mining activities, it’s usually directed to storage tanks and ponds for holding and further processing. Ditches and canals are a convenient gravity-powered way to transfer the waste without the need of high maintenance pumps and other equipment. However, there’s also a high risk of contamination if the ditches are left without a liner. The liners used for wastewater transport ditches must withstand constant chemical and UV exposure, two factors that increase the breakdown of many materials.

Canal Connections

Intermediary ditches run between water canals of many kinds, including overflow drainage ditches for water storage ponds and canals. Whether it’s a drainage channel for a transportation canal or a part of a complex irrigation system, these interconnecting channels require reinforcement and erosion control. Flexible liners remain the most adaptable option for lining many linear feet of narrow canal connecting ditches.

Erosion Control Ditches

From the runoff capturing swale to the drainage interceptor ditch, there are many ways to capture runoff water that causes erosion. As water flows over the surface of a slope, it accumulates speed and starts to pull plant material and soil off of the surface. This material can travel hundreds of feet and clog up other drainage ditches and dry wells. Erosion leads to the loss of valuable topsoil, degradation of plant growing fields, and collapse of entire hillsides and slopes. Lined erosion control ditches last for years and stabilize large areas of soil by preventing unwanted runoff and water accumulation.

Residential Drainage Ditches

Finally, even backyard drainage ditches and French drains deserve a tough liner to improve performance. These drainage channels are generally connected to gutter downspouts and similar runoff collection systems. At the other end of the ditch, you’ll either find a public storm drain to accept the water or a structure like a dry well so it absorbs into the ground. By installing a flexible liner like RPE, these ditches can carry more water, resist erosion, and last for years with minimal attention from the homeowner.

All of these ditches benefit from lining with a material from BTL Liners. If you’re not sure which of our products is right for your specific ditch, contact our team for a custom recommendation.


Liners by BTL

AquaArmor Pond Liner

The most versatile liner on the market today, AquaArmor maximizes protection from harmful UV rays, tear resistance and punctures that cause leaks. Simply the best liner on the market.

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