Erosion Control and Stormwater Management

Principal Investigator:

Bruce Wilson, Professor, Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering

Project Summary:

Many sediment control logs fail because of poorly understood performance limits and improper installation. The overall goals of this project are to define performance limits by determining the flow and sediment removal characteristics of different types of logs and to improve installation by developing a flow chart decision matrix tool for selecting the best log for a given construction situation. The results will be adaptable to diverse projects using sediment control logs. This includes urban and rural projects and their use of perimeter control of stockpiles on pavement. The tools will consider the impacts of drainage area, soil type, slope steepness, and ease of installation. Significant time and money are currently being expended in the purchase and installation of sediment control logs without knowing their effectiveness. Understanding their performance limits and improving installation will result in construction savings and greater protection of the environment. This project will improve the regulatory compliance for construction projects and reduce the potential for permit fines by closing a knowledge gap of a widely used practice. The research results will be incorporated into the Erosion and Stormwater Management Certification Program, which typically has 3,000 participants per year in its training courses. Key implementation outcomes are: 1) improved standard specifications, 2) development of design tools for engineers, and 3) guidelines for amending plans during construction based on field conditions. The specific objectives of this project are to: 1) determine hydraulic characteristics of sediment control logs constructed from different media and encasement fabrics; 2) evaluate the removal efficiency of sediment for these logs and the impact of trapped sediment on the hydraulic characteristics; 3) develop design guidelines for selection of sediment control logs based on the contributing areas' characteristics, sediment load, and longevity; and 4) coalesce the selection guidelines within a decision tree framework for use by field practitioners. The last objective will be in the form of a decision flow chart or alternative design tool that can be used at construction sites. The first objective will be completed by using an indoor test apparatus located at the University. A total of 20 sediment control logs will be evaluated. The second objective will be done by constructing a test apparatus for this activity. A subset of logs that represents a group of logs of Objective 1 will be used to determine the removal efficiency of sediment for the logs. Objectives 3 and 4 will take the experimental results and incorporate them into useful design tools. Here, physical theories will be used to estimate the flow rates and sediment load for different construction situations.

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