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Benefits and Limitations of Anionic polyacrylamide

Anionic polyacrylamide is a chemical that can be applied to disturded soils to reduce erosion and improve settling of suspended sediments. These compounds are water-soluble and may be introduced into stormwater flows. Studies have shown that anionic PAM used in conjunction with mulch can be up to 93% effective in reducing sediment loses. Anionic PAM has been used for years in the wastewater treatment industry as a flocculating agent and works by increasing aggregation of small particles in the soil. This makes these particles heavier and leads to more stable soils.


PAM can be applied to the following areas:

1. on bare soils with relatively flat slopes

2. Rough, graded soils that be inactive for a period of time

3. Temporary hauls roads prior or where vegetation establishment is not feasible

4. Compacted soil road base or where vegetation establishment is not feasible

5. on top of mulched or seeded areas

6. Construction staging, materials, storage, and layout areas

Only buy and use anionic PAM on construction sites, as this is a non-toxic material, DO NOT use Cationic PAM as it is extremely toxic to humans and wildlife.


1. Targets the smallest particles in soils such as fine silts and clays that conventional erosion and sediment controls cannot affect

2. Prevents downstream damage from sediment and chemicals

3. It can be used with mulch made onsite from cleared materials

4. Requires not interfere with construction activity

5. Will not interfere with construction activity

6. Reduces dust


1. Materials are soil-specific, so cannot be used for multiple sites.

2. PAM may not be applied to water

3. Site-specific testing must be completed

4. Application must be done by trained personnel

5. Avoid use of PAM on a slope that flows into a body of water without first passing it through a sediment trap or sediment basin

6. When applied to saturated soil, PAM may be ineffective; dry or damp soil applications are best

7. PAM is not effective if applier over snow or on pure sand or gravel.