The BEG Group's Biodegradable Switchgrass Product aka "The Big Switch" (a BEG Group patent pending product & process)
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.
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 Big Switch Filter Specification Sheet
Switchgrass Filter is a sturdy polypropylene geotextile (woven) that has been engineered specifically for controlling erosion and containing and/or retaining sediment in disturbed areas. It is a mesh tube filled with Switchgrass material that is placed perpendicular to sheet-flow runoff. The Switchgrass Filter, 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. The Switchgrass Filter can be used in place of traditional sediment and erosion control tools such as a silt fence, straw bale barrier and mulch socks.
Switchgrass Filters 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. Switchgrass Filters are flexible and can be filled in place or filled and moved into position, making them especially useful on steep or rocky slopes where installation of other erosion control tools are not feasible. With Switchgrass Filters 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. Switchgrass Filters can also be used on pavement as inlet protection for storm drains and to slow water flow in small ditches. Switchgrass Filters are 8,9,12, 18 and 24 inches in diameter. Organic cotton, biodegradable, and photodegradable Switchgrass Filters are available for required applications.
Switchgrass Filters can be un-vegetated or vegetated. Vegetated Switchgrass Filters 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 Switchgrass Filter. Un-vegetated Switchgrass Filters are often cut open when the project is completed, and the switchgrass filter material is spread around the site as a soil amendment. The Switchgrass Filter mesh fabric is then disposed of unless it is biodegradable. Advantages the Switchgrass Filter has over traditional sediment control tools, such as a silt fence, and Mulch are:
Installation does not require trenching disturbing the soil surface.
It is much more easily installed.
It can be installed where trenching is not viable.
It has a wider contact surface area.
Switchgrass does not contribute additional tannic acids.
Switchgrass does not need to be removed.
Due to the light weight of switchgrass vs. mulch you save on back strains and shipping cost .
Switchgrass 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). Switchgrass 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 BMPs.
Siting and Design Considerations
Materials: Switchgrass Filters achieves the proper balance between sediment removal and flow-through rate by using switchgrass 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.
Switchgrass 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 Switchgrass Filter with the material then knotting or zip tying the other end once the desired length is reached. A Switchgrass Filter, the length of the slope, is normally used to ensure that storm water does not break through at the intersection of Switchgrass Filters placed end-to-end. In cases where this is not possible, the Switchgrass Filters are placed end-to-end along a slope and the ends are interlocked. The diameter of the Switchgrass Filter used will vary depending upon the steepness and length of the slope; example slopes and slope lengths used with different diameter Switchgrass Filters are presented in Table 2.
Although Switchgrass Filters are usually placed along a contour perpendicular to sheet flow, in areas of concentrated flow they are sometimes placed in an inverted V going up the slope, to reduce the velocity of water running down the slope. The project engineer may also consider placing Switchgrass Filters at the top and base of the slope or placing a series of Switchgrass Filters every 15 to 25 feet along the vertical profile of the slope. These slope interruption devices slow down sheet flow on a slope or in a watershed. Larger diameter Switchgrass Filters are recommended for areas prone to high rainfall or sites with severe grades or long slopes.
Once the Switchgrass Filter 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 Switchgrass Filter. Stakes should be wooden 1 ½ inch by 1 ½ inch by 2ft. or 3 ft. depending on sock diameter. The spacing of the stakes should be equal distance across the length of the Switchgrass Filter. For perimeter sediment control stakes should be placed 5ft. apart. For ditch checks stakes should be placed 3 ft. apart. The ends of the Switchgrass Filter should be directed upslope to prevent storm water from running around the end of the Switchgrass Filter. The Switchgrass Filter may be vegetated by incorporating seed into a compost fill material prior to placement in the Switchgrass Filter.
Switchgrass Filter 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 the Switchgrass Filter uniformly contacts the ground surface. Switchgrass Filters 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.
Switchgrass Filters should be inspected regularly, as well as after each rain event, to ensure that they are intact and the area behind the Switchgrass Filter is not filled with sediment. If there is excessive ponding behind the Switchgrass Filter or accumulated sediment reaches the top of the Switchgrass Filter, an additional Switchgrass Filter should be added on top or in front of the existing Switchgrass Filter in these areas, without disturbing the soil or accumulated sediment. If the Switchgrass Filter was overtopped during a storm event, the operator should consider installing additional Switchgrass Filter on top of the original, placing an additional Switchgrass Filter up the slope, or using an additional BMP such as hydro seeding, matting/netting or compost blankets in conjunction with the Switchgrass Filter.
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. Switchgrass Filter, are at least as effective as traditional erosion and sediment control BMP’s and often are more effective. Switchgrass 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.
Our patent pending Switchgrass Filter Process & Products meet the following Requirements:
1. Out Switchgrass 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. Our Switchgrass biodegradable runoff filter 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. This allows the user to leave the product in a specific location to filter runoff and eventually decay into environment friendly materials.
3. Our Switchgrass Filter 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.
Pictured above: 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.
Business Consulting by:
The BEG Group
Beg Group's patent pending 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.
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
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
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
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