Seven years after beginning the development of a procedure to characterize the full-scale, installed flow performance of sediment pond skimmers, the procedure developed by DDRF’s Laboratory Director, Jay Sprague, has become an international standard. The development work was done under contract to the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission.
A floating surface skimmer, or floating sediment pond skimmer, is a buoyant device that releases/drains water from the surface of sediment ponds at a controlled rate of flow. It “skims”, or dewaters, from the water surface where sediment concentrations are at a minimum in the water column instead of draining from the bottom where sediment concentrations are their highest.
Each skimmer product (and each product size) has a unique performance, including the associated hydraulics, which is affected by the floatation, inlet, and drain design chosen. The discharge rate is dependent on the specific product design and can only be determined through product-specific testing.
Using the results of the standard practice, it is a straight forward process to choose the skimmer that best matches the required “time-to-drain” specified. The required volume (or dimensions) of the sediment pond must be known, as well as, the number of hours/days to drain the basin. With this information, a drawdown rate calculation is made for each product and size using product-specific flow rates.
In 2015, Jay presented a technical paper at the International Erosion Control Association annual meeting that described the testing of several sizes of each of four unique designs of floating pond skimmers and presented the associated results. His paper, “Evaluating Floating Surface Skimmers” was named the winner of the Most Distinguished Technical Paper Award for Environmental Connection 2015.
Jay Sprague, a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control, is the Laboratory Director of TRI Environmental’s Denver Downs Research Facility in Anderson, SC. Sprague has been integrally involved with implementing large‐scale test methods, including the construction and maintenance of the state‐of‐the‐art facilities that make TRI the only independent commercial laboratory offering such a wide array of performance testing capabilities. After helping to construct DDRF as a college intern in 2006, Sprague completed his degree in Agricultural Economics at Clemson University and spent the next three years specializing in agricultural, erosion control, and sediment control products as a Market Development Manager at Pennington Seed Company. Now, as Laboratory Director for TRI’s Denver Downs Research Facility, Sprague supervises a staff of technicians, directs all site operations and testing, and is responsible for implementation of TRI’s Quality Systems throughout all lab operations.