REPORT: Large-scale Performance Testing of Erosion Control Products


Sediment is the number one pollutant of US water resources even though erosion control best management practices (BMPs) are now commonly used. While a large amount of information on types of storm water BMPs, including Erosion Control Products (ECP), exists, quantitative information on performance effectiveness is difficult to find and not well documented. In order to help protect water quality as it relates to sediments, regulatory agencies and site designers are increasingly responsible for determining how well specific BMPs will perform, quantitatively, relative to alternatives.
To-date, available standardized test procedures for measuring relevant performance of ECPs have too often been rejected in favor of unique protocols designed by individual researchers. Thus, it is often not possible to accurately compare much of the available ECP performance data developed on different ECPs at different testing organizations.

Thus, there is keen interest in the use of standardized testing procedures for evaluating the performance of a broad range of ECPs in a variety of applications, as well as characterizing the relevant “index” material properties of these ECPs. The combination of both tests facilitates “apples-to-apples” performance comparisons and links the relevant material properties used for the quality control to the tested products. Using this approach, it is possible to characterize full-scale, installed performance of commonly used ECPs. Furthermore, tested material properties can be “bench-marked” to facilitate future validation of ECPs without having to repeat large-scale performance tests.

Standardized test methods provide testing labs with clear protocols so that future testing of ECPs can be easily reproduced and compared to the results of existing tests. Thus, it is desirable that all testing conform to existing ASTM procedures or be clear, easily implemented, modifications of the ASTM procedures.

This paper will present commonly used large-scale standardized performance tests and review the results of independent large-scale tests performed on a range of rolled erosion control products (RECPs) and hydraulically-applied erosion control products (HECPs). These large-scale tests were performed under the auspices of the National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP). Additionally, recommendations will be made on the appropriate use of large-scale tests in specifications for erosion control products.

Keywords: RECPs, HECPs, erosion control, NTPEP, performance testing

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  1. C. J. Sprague, TRI/Environmental, Inc., United States
  2. J. E. Sprague, TRI’s Denver Downs Research Facility, United States

Presented at GeoAmericas 2012, Lima, Peru, 2012

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