Per 3/27/17 email from Pa. DEP's William Himes, Big Switch™ is listed on the approved BMP list on DEP's website -- Alternate E&S and PCSM BMP's. Therefore, this product has been approved for use on PennDOT projects as a Pub 408, Section 106.02(a)2.c, Project Specific Locally Approved Material. 

PennDOT has issued a Letter to BEG Group LLC stating that Big Switch™ is approved for use as an alternate to compost under Section 867-Compost Filter Sock.  Big Switch™ must be used with a filter sock that meets the specification criteria listed in Section 867. 

Cambridge, OH. (January 17, 2017) — BEG Group LLC announced today that it has earned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Biobased Product label. The product, Big Switch™ Filtration & Erosion Control Medium, is now able to display a unique USDA label that highlights its percentage of biobased content. (Big Switch has a biobased content of 100%)  Third-party verification for a product's biobased content is administered through the USDA BioPreferred Program, an initiative created by the 2002 Farm Bill (and most recently expanded by the 2014 Farm Bill). One of the goals of the BioPreferred Program is to increase the development, purchase and use of biobased products. The USDA Certified Biobased Product label displays a product's biobased content, which is the portion of a product that comes from a renewable source, such as plant, animal, marine, or forestry feedstocks. Biobased products are cost-comparative, readily available, and perform as well as or better than their conventional counterparts.

"We applaud BEG Group LLC for earning the USDA Certified Biobased Product label," said Kate Lewis, USDA BioPreferred Program. "Products from BEG Group LLC are contributing to an ever-expanding marketplace that adds value to renewable agriculture commodities and creates jobs in rural communities.

 The Big Switch™ Erosion/Filter Medium Specification Sheet

Big Switch™ is a sturdy polypropylene geotextile (woven) fabric
(see note below) that has been engineered specifically for controlling erosion and containing and/or retaining sediment in disturbed areas.  It is a mesh tube filled with biobased material that is placed perpendicular to sheet-flow runoff.  Big Switch™, which is oval to round in cross section, provides a three-dimensional filter that retains sediment and other pollutants (e.g., suspended solids, tannic acid, nitrates, phosphate’s and motor oil) while allowing the cleaned water to flow through.  Big Switch™ can be used in place of traditional sediment and erosion control tools such as a silt fence, straw bale barrier and mulch socks. 

NOTE: As of October 3, 2016 we offer a cotton fabric sock which is 100% biodegradable

Big Switch™ sock are generally placed along the perimeter of a site, or at intervals along a slope, to capture and treat storm water that runs off as sheet flow. Big Switch™ filters are flexible and can be filled and easily moved into position, making them especially useful on steep or rocky slopes where installation of other erosion control tools is not feasible. With Big Switch™ there is greater surface area contact with soil than typical sediment control devices, thereby reducing the potential for runoff to create rills under the device and/or create channels carrying unfiltered sediment.

Additionally, they can be laid adjacent to each other, perpendicular to storm water flow, to reduce flow velocity and soil erosion. Big Switch™ can also be used on pavement as inlet protection for storm drains and to slow water flow in small ditches. Big Switch™ Filters are 8,12,18, and 24 inches in diameter.  Organic cotton biodegradable, and photo-degradable Filters are available for required applications.

Big Switch™ Filters can be un-vegetated or vegetated.  Vegetated Big Switch™ can be left in place to provide long-term filtration of storm water as a post-construction best management practice (BMP). The vegetation grows into the slope, further anchoring the filter. Big Switch™ are often cut open when the project is completed, and the filter material is spread around the site as a soil amendment. The filter mesh fabric is then disposed of unless it is biodegradable.

Advantages Big Switch™ has over traditional sediment control tools, such as a silt fence, and mulch are:

Big Switch™ installation does not require trenching disturbing the soil surface.
Big Switch™ is much more easily installed.
Big Switch™ can be installed where trenching is not viable.
Big Switch™ has a wider contact surface area.
Big Switch™ does not contribute additional tannic acids.
Big Switch™ does not need to be removed.
Due to the light weight of Big Switch™ vs. mulch you save on back strains and shipping cost.



Big Switch™ Filters are applicable to construction sites or other disturbed areas where storm water runoff occurs as sheet flow. Common industry practice for filter devices is that drainage areas do not exceed 0.25 acre per 100 feet of device length and flow does not exceed one cubic foot per second (see Siting and Design Considerations). Big Switch™ Filters can be used on steeper slopes with faster flows if they are spaced more closely, stacked beside and/or on top of each other, made in larger diameters, or used in combination with other storm water Best Management Practices.

Siting and Design Considerations
Materials:  Big Switch™ achieves the proper balance between sediment removal and flow-through rate by using biobased material with the proper particle size.  Filter material with a high percentage of fine particles will clog and create a barrier to flow. Alternatively, filter material with particles that are too large will allow flows to pass through the barrier with little or no resistance, eliminating the velocity reduction and sediment trapping benefits of the barrier.   

​Design: Big Switch™ Filters are round to oval in cross section; they are assembled by tying a knot or zip tie at one end of the mesh, filling the filter with the material then knotting or zip tying the other end once the desired length is reached.  Big Switch™, the length of the slope, is normally used to ensure that storm water does not break through at the intersection of Big Switch™ placed end-to-end. In cases where this is not possible, the Big Switch™ filters are placed end-to-end along a slope and the ends are interlocked. The diameter of Big Switch™ used will vary depending upon the steepness and length of the slope.

Installation:   Once Big Switch™is filled and put in place, it should be anchored to the slope. The preferred anchoring method is to drive stakes through the center of the tube at regular intervals; alternatively, stakes can be placed on the downstream side of the Big Switch™. Stakes should be wooden 2” X 2“of appropriate length to provide 12” embedding in the ground + the sock diameter + 2” sticking above the sock and at 10’ spacing. The ends of the Filter should be directed up-slope to prevent storm water from running around the end of the Big Switch™.  

Limitations:  Big Switch™ offers a large degree of flexibility for various applications. To ensure optimum performance, heavy vegetation should be cut down or removed, and extremely uneven surfaces should be leveled to ensure that Big Switch™ uniformly contacts the ground surface.  Big Switch™ installed perpendicular to flow in areas where a large volume of storm water runoff is likely, but should not be installed perpendicular to flow in perennial waterways and large streams.

Maintenance Considerations

Big Switch™ Filters should be inspected regularly, as well as after each rain event, to ensure that they are intact and the area behind Big Switch™ is not filled with sediment.  If there is excessive ponding behind Big Switch™ or accumulated sediment reaches the top of the filter, an additional Big Switch™ Filter should be added on top or in front of the existing filter in these areas, without disturbing the soil or accumulated sediment.  If Big Switch™ was overtopped during a storm event, the operator should consider installing additional Big Switch™ on top of the original, placing an additional filter up the slope, or using an additional BMP such as hydro seeding, matting/netting or compost blankets in conjunction with the Big Switch™ Filter.

Effectiveness:  A large number of qualitative studies have reported the effectiveness of filter tube devices in removing settle able solids, total suspended solids and turbidity reduction from sediment laden water, (see Dr. Amanda Cox, Colorado State University, 2011). These studies have consistently shown that filter tubes devices, i.e. Big Switch™, are at least as effective as traditional erosion and sediment control BMP’s and often are more effective.  Big Switch™ filters are often used in conjunction with hydro seeding, matting/netting, or compost blankets to form a storm water management system.  Together these BMPs retain a very high volume of storm water, sediment and other pollutants.

Business Consulting by:

 The BEG Group

Home Office

61455 Greenbriar Drive

Cambridge, Ohio 43725

Perry Burt   (740) 680-0343

Jay Elkin    (412) 289-0174

Joe Greco   (724) 681-4414

​​BEG Group LLC Earns USDA Certified Biobased Product Label

Big Switch™ Protects Endangered Mussels

The Definition of Big Switch


I would like to verify we have switch grass silt sock "the Big Switch" provided by the BEG Group installed, stored outside and stored inside on our PennDOT project in Kittanning, Pa. We have sock in various sizes from 8" to 24" throughout the project that has been installed for going on 10 month's now. It has been inspected regularly by PennDOT and the Armstrong Conservation District and has never shown any breakdown or weakness after snow, rain and extreme temperatures in both directions. Nor has it ever not passed inspection or shown any signs of failing due to longevity. As far as the pallets stored outside, we have had them onsite for 8 months and use sock from the stockpile on a regular basis and we have no reason to feel uncomfortable installing for the fact it looks just like it did when it came off the truck months ago.  That also goes for the pallets stored in the storage containers supplied by BEG Group to help save time on shipping and availability on both ends. 

Thank you, Tony Smith/Supervisor 

​Pittsburgh Office - Independence Excavating, Inc.


Back to Back Winner of the AGC of America National Construction Safety Excellence Award

Recognized Five Consecutive Years as a Top Workplace by Cleveland Plain Dealer

I have been asked to define Big Switch and thought about this for some time and decided to give the following definition:
Big Switch is the original switchgrass sock to be nationally certified as a 100% biobased/biopreffered erosion/filtration medium by the USDA.
Big Switch is the first switchgrass sock to be called out as highly qualified and exceptionally valued for use on highly sensitive projects by Pa DEP and PennDOT.
Big Switch is the only long lasting switchgrass erosion/filtration medium on the market that warrants field longevity past 3 months.
Don't take my words for this! Please view the proof of concept note on Big Switch below:

Safety Data Sheet
Section 1 – Product Identification
Material Identity: Switchgrass
Section 2 – Composition/Ingredients
Weight (%) Component CAS Registry No.
100 Switchgrass Straw None
Section 3 – Hazards Identification
HMIS Hazard Ratings:
Health: 1 Flammability: 1 Chemical Reactivity: 0
NFPA Hazard Ratings:
Health: 1 Flammability: 1 Chemical Reactivity: 0
Section 4 – First Aid Measures
Ingestion: Not applicable under normal use.
Inhalation: Remove to fresh air. If persistent irritation, severe coughing, breathing difficulties occur, seek medical advice before returning to work where Switchgrass pellets/dust are present.
Eyes: Flush with water to remove debris/dust particles. If irritation occurs, seek medical attention.
Skin: If a rash or persistent irritation or dermatitis occur, seek medical advice before returning to work where Switchgrass pellets/dust are present.
Section 5 – Fire Fighting Measures
Flash Point: N.A. – Combustible solid
Flammable Limits:
LEL: Not available UEL: Not available
Extinguishing Media: Water, CO2, sand
Unusual fire or explosion hazards: Dust is a strong to severe explosion hazard if a dust ‘cloud’ contacts an ignition source. Explosive limits in air: 40 mg/m3 (LEL).
Section 6 – Accidental Release Measures
Sweep or scoop and place in disposal container. May be disposed of as a nonhazardous waste.
Section 7 – Handling and Storage
Store in a cool, dry place with adequate ventilation. Keep away from ignition sources.
Section 8 – Exposure Controls/Personal Protection
Exposure Limits:
Particulates not otherwise classified; ACGIH TLV-TWA = 5 mg/m3
OSAH PEL – TWA = 15 mg/m3 (total dust) 5.0 mg/m3 (reparable fraction)
NOTE: Data are for wood dust.
Section 8 – Exposure Controls/Personal Protection (continued)
Use good ventilation – typically 10 air changes per hour.
Wear safety glasses with side shields.
Other protective equipment, such as gloves and approved dust respirators, may be needed depending on dust conditions.
Section 9 – Physical and Chemical Properties
Boiling Point N.A.
Vapor Pressure N.A.
Vapor Density N.A.
Solubility in Water Insoluble
Appearance and Odor Tan, slight straw odor
Bulk Density 40 lbs./ft3
Melting Point N.A.
Evaporation Rate N.A.
Section 10 – Stability and Reactivity
Stability: Stable
Incompatibility: May react with strong oxidizers
Hazardous Polymerization: Will not occur
Conditions to Avoid: Avoid continuous exposure of material to temperatures in excess of 400° F (204° C).
Section 11 – Toxicological Information
Carcinogenic: Wood dust is classified as a Class 1 human carcinogen. Lacking additional data, switchgrass dust should be regarded as a similar hazard.
Section 12 – Ecological Background
Switchgrass is a perennial prairie grass native to North America east of the Rocky Mountains. It is under cultivation for conservation purposes, seed propagation, forage, wildlife habitat, biomass energy, and other potential industrial uses.
Section 13 – Disposal Considerations
May be disposed of as nonhazardous waste if not contaminated.
Section 14 – Transportation Information
May be shipped normally as nonhazardous material.
Section 15 – Regulatory Information

The BEG Group Lafayette, Louisiana Office
Beg Group's southern office address is:
3309 Kaliste Saloom Rd
Lafayette, LA
c/o The Belltech Group (337) 981-2268

Belltech Group, a professional construction company specialized in all phases for commercial and industrial providing design, fabrication, installation, and construction management services for over 35 years, will represent BEG Group's patent pending trade named "Big Switch" Erosion/Filtration interests. 

Beg Group's Big Switch™ Erosion/Filtration Medium has been installed at the Hunter Station Bridge (SR 62) Bridge endangered mussel salvage and relocation project in northwestern Pennsylvania over the Allegheny River to help guard against contamination and pollution of said mussels and for erosion control. The project is located in a reach of the Allegheny River that contains the largest known populations of the federally and state endangered Clubshell (Pleurobema clava) and Northern Riffleshell (Epioblasma torulosa rangiana). 

The project is unique in scale as over 85,000 endangered mussels may be salvaged from under the bridge prior to construction, and relocated to augment or reintroduce the species to various locations across their original range. Relocation areas include streams in IL, IN, OH, PA, NY, KY, WV, and the Seneca Nation of Indians, Salamanca Reservation.

Big Switch™ is listed on the approved BMP list on Pa DEP’s website.  

Our internationally trade named "Big Switch™" Filter Process & Products meet the following Requirements:
1. Big Switch™ has been tested and proven to reduce turbidity, reduce nitrate levels and has shown to reduce, and does not contribute to, tannic acids levels.
2. Big Switch™ serves as a silt filter and a pollution neutralizing barrier which can be installed along the perimeter of an area that is known to produce polluted surface runoff. The biodegradable filter sock is made from a biodegradable mesh that is water permeable and is photodegradable or biobased cotton. This allows the user to leave the product in a specific location to filter runoff and eventually decay into environment friendly materials.
3. Big Switch™ typically allows for a greater water flow through when compared to a similar mass of wood chips. Thus, greater volumes of water is capable of flowing through the switchgrass while being filtered. This is useful as increased flow helps prevent the possibility of water pooling on one side of the filter sock and potentially causing ground erosion or spilling over the top of the filter sock.​​

Big Switch has been working onsite at Independence Excavating's Rt 422 Kittaning, Pa project since March, 2017.

Click on the Pa DEP logo above to visit the ALTERNATIVE E&S AND PCSM BMPs  Revised: March 21, 2017 

The BEG Group's Biodegradable Switchgrass Product aka

                           "Big Switch™"​                                                         

Pictured below: Cleveland Metro Parks uses Big Switch™ for sediment control as well as for phosphate and nitrogen retention to help prevent high concentrations of these nutrients from getting into streams causing growth of algae and green plants in their waterways and eventually the Great Lakes.  Cleveland Metro Parks switched to our 100% cotton biopreferred sock which they intend to leave in place to degrade naturally.      

May 31, 2017

Congratulations on BEG Group's Big Switch™ Bio Preferred Erosion/Filtration Medium winning a 2017 Environmental Protection New Product of the Year award.  

The Environmental Protection New Product of the Year Award honors the outstanding achievements of industry manufacturers whose products are considered particularly noteworthy for making environmental professionals’ jobs a little easier.

Susan May
Group Marketing Director, 
Infrastructure Solutions Group – Environmental Protection
Dallas, TX 75254