Effectiveness of Compost Blankets

Soils disturbed by roadway construction often exhibit reduced soil porosity, lower precipitation storage capacity, and lower infiltration rates, thereby yielding increased surface runoff. Poor performance of vegetation in these locations also leads to long-term aesthetic and erosion issues. Research has demonstrated that vegetated compost blankets can be used to effectively promote stormwater filtration, retention of runoff, infiltration of stormwater into the underlaying soils, and potentially remove pollutants and reducing flow volumes of surface runoffs. Soil improvement via compost blankets has potential advantages to transportation agencies, as it can lower the cost of regulatory compliance while also contributing to goals such as the management of the roadsides via healthy landscape plantings and the permanent stabilization of eroding areas caused by poor soil conditions. Given the broad applicably of soil improvement as a best management practice throughout the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) network, it is important to optimize soil improvement specifications to ensure the lowest-cost effective solution is achieved. This project is designed to investigate the effectiveness of compost blankets for roadside vegetation establishment and stormwater management in Ohio. The goal of this research dovetails with ODOT's mission by developing and conducting tests to determine the performance of various compost blanket treatments on the improvement of erosion control, reduction of stormwater runoff, improvement of infiltration rates, and support of long-term sustainable vegetation. The outcome of this project will result in specifications, standard details, and a decision matrix that provides guidance on the use, limitations, design, and implementation of vegetated compost blankets on existing roadway embankments for the conditions prevalent in Ohio. This outcome can assist with ODOT's mission to increase capacity by minimizing the risk of having roadways taken out of service by stormwater flooding or erosion. The objectives of this project are to complete a series of complementary activities are envisioned: (1) A literature review on the performance of compost blankets; (2) survey questionnaires and follow-up interviews on the current state-of-the art at ODOT, (3) laboratory assessment of the effects of compost amendment rate on the hydraulic properties and erosion of soil; (4) field evaluation of the existing compost blankets to examine the effects of the compost amendment rate on runoff water quantity and quality, water infiltration, and nearby vegetation; and (5) field testing of optimized compost blankets.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $100000
  • Contract Numbers:




  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Ohio Department of Transportation

    Research Program
    1980 West Broad Street
    Columbus, OH  United States  43223
  • Project Managers:

    Lucas, Michelle

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Akron

    College of Engineering
    Akron, OH  United States  44325
  • Principal Investigators:

    Mahabadi, Nariman

  • Start Date: 20230131
  • Expected Completion Date: 20240731
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01871680
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Ohio Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 38591, 136694, 118515
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 24 2023 4:16PM