REPORT: Testing and Specifying Erosion Control Products


Sediment continues to be a major pollutant of public water resources even though erosion control best management practices, BMPs, are now commonly used. In order to help protect water quality as it relates to sediments, regulatory agencies and site designers are increasingly asking how well specific BMPs will perform quantitatively relative to alternatives. While a large amount of information on rolled erosion control products (RECPs) has become available in recent years, the information has not been synthesized and evaluated to identify property ranges for individual product types and product type hierarchies based on performance thresholds. Without specific product type information, it is difficult for users to create generic construction specifications or qualified product listings for different categories of products.

Standardized test procedures have been recognized as the means to develop generic product type data. Thus, a two decade effort by industry professionals has produced recognized tests for measuring relevant material “index” properties, as well as, relevant performance characterizations of RECPs.

This presentation will include the details of these commonly used standardized index, bench-scale, and large-scale tests for RECPs, along with a review of data from hundreds of independent tests performed on a range of rolled erosion control products (RECPs) under the auspices of the National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP). Along with an assessment of the relevance and correlation of the various tests, recommendations will be made on the appropriate use of these test results in specifications for RECPs.

Keywords: RECP, erosion control, NTPEP, performance testing, specification

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  1. C. Joel Sprague, P.E.
    TRI/Environmental, Inc.
    PO Box 9192, Greenville, SC 29604
    Phone: 864/242-2220; Fax: 864/242-3107;
  2. James E. (Jay) Sprague, Laboratory Director,
    TRI/Environmental – Denver Downs Research Facility
    4915 Clemson Blvd., Anderson, SC 29621
    Phone: 864/569-6888;
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4915 Hwy 76 (Clemson Blvd.)
Anderson, SC 29621

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