Meet the Clean Water Freak! with Joe Moore, Co-founder & Chief Brand Ambassador for Siltworm & ECS

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Episode 021: “I have inadvertently turned into what some people would call a stormwater nerd, or I call myself a clean water freak because I think it’s way cooler to be excited about it.” Joe Moore has had an interesting journey from unintentional polluter to informed advocate actively making decisions to clean up stormwater. The construction industry was hot at the time Joe graduated from college, and he got a job with a large homebuilder. He was working near the Stillwater River in Cincinnati so he was able to do the things he loved like fishing and canoe trips. Joe is an outdoorsman at heart, going back to when he was around 5 and his dad would take him out to the shores of Lake Michigan. “I didn’t realize the impact I was having as a polluter to a waterway that I was using. And so I look back on all that now and say what a blessing or what an opportunity that I got to see that,” Joe says of that time. Then Joe started his own construction company and found that he was being required to buy and use products that simply didn’t work. 

That was the birth of Siltworm.  It wasn’t that he didn’t want to comply with stormwater regulations, he did. He just wanted to do it in a way that actually made a difference. Joe’s construction company was being forced to spend literally thousands of dollars on products and methods that didn’t work, so he decided to create something that would. Joe started looking at filter sock technology using compost for sediment control. At first, they kept it under the envelope of their construction company as a pet project. As regulations started to change and catch up to address what was and wasn’t working, they realized that their pet company project could be helpful to others in the industry. They didn’t just stop with what they had, they dug in to make it better. They split the construction business from Siltworm and doubled down on it. 

It was a process of failing forward. “When we were filling with compost, our sediment retention numbers were in the mid 60s to low 70s.” The data for silt fencing products were sometimes as low as the mid 20s. Problems arose because the composted material was having organic growth, so they started looking at alternatives. There was an opportunity to recycle wooden pallets to use as the filter filling instead of compost. This also increased the sediment capture rate by 10-15 basis points. Looking into the differences between the materials to understand the sediment capture difference, Joe decided to try kiln dried softwoods and the sediment capture numbers went up to 97%! When you look back at why you are doing what you do, this addressed so many things. “Being able to have a clean product, recycled, kiln, dried softwoods gave us an opportunity to keep a lot of material that was going to a landfill out of it. We’re really proud of this. In five years, we’ve kept over 60 million tons of that material from going into landfills.” Joe and Siltworm are continuing to innovate, most recently with the introduction of Bioworm and the regional installation company, Storm Water Pollution Prevention Services. Joe is creating a legacy in an industry he is quite passionate about, where he gets to protect this limited resource we have in our waterways.

Quotes:

  • “I call myself a clean water freak because I think it’s way cooler to be excited about it, right?” (01:23 | Joe)
  • “I made a decision to get in this industry because I was spending a bunch of money on something that wasn’t working,” (32:46 | Joe) 
  • “Stormwater is gross. Stormwater should be taught, treated just like wastewater. As far as I’m concerned, we need to fix the water for everybody.” (52:48 | Ty)
  • “I’ve still never met someone who doesn’t want clean water.” (48:07 | Joe)

The views expressed are that of the individual and do not represent the opinions of any companies past, present or future.

Check out these Conferences Joe mentioned during the Pod:

Ohio Stormwater Conference: https://ohstormwaterconference.com/

Indiana Stormwater Conference: https://www.inafsm.net/2024-annual-conference

Indiana MS4 Annual Meeting: https://www.indianams4.org/2024-annual-meeting

Connect with Joe Moore:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/joemoore6/

jmoore@siltworm.com

Connect with Ty Garmon, LEED AP

Connect with Ty on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tygarmon/

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