RES2016-19: In-Service Performance Evaluation of Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control (EPSC) Devices

Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control (EPSC) devices are widely used during construction projects by Department of Transportations (DOTs) nationally to prevent or reduce the movement of sediment that is carried into lakes, streams and rivers by storm water runoff from a site during construction and are required by state water quality and storm water regulations. Preventing erosion reduces the amount of sediment that leaves a construction site which carries nutrients and pollutants that degrade water resources and harm aquatic wildlife. Proper planning of construction site activities greatly reduces the impact of soil disturbance on nearby resources. Although erosion on construction sites often affects only a relatively small acreage of land in a watershed, it is a major source of sediment because the potential for erosion on highly disturbed land is commonly 100 times greater than on agricultural land. DOTs in every state have developed standard drawings per state water quality and storm water regulations and a drainage manual to provide guidance to roadway designers in order to develop erosion control plans to protect natural water resources during temporary roadway construction activities. It is evident that more information is needed to better asses the amounts of sediment lost during the temporary construction actives, including phasing activities observing field performance of EPSC devices, and improving design and implementation of EPSC devices based on past experiences and. This need has been elevated not only by design professionals who are directly involved in the development of erosion plans, but also operations professionals and other agencies and research institutions. The goals of this research were to investigate in-service performance of the effectiveness of current TDOT EPSC device installation practices in field. In addition, this research further evaluates the application guidance and quantity calculation methods currently provided for each EPSC device, estimates material quantities of installed devices based on initial installation, maintenance, and field performance. Available for use on highway construction project sites, TDOT Drainage Manual, Chapter 10 has 42 EPSC applications that include both flow and sediment control devices. The specific objectives of this research were to: 1) evaluate the applicability and performance of the current EPSC devices, 2) investigate how often EPSC devices are being modified during the construction under the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP) through on-site field inspections, and 3) determine if the changes are needed to roadway plans and specific EPSC applications in Chapter 10 of the TDOT Roadway Drainage Manual, and make any necessary recommendations. The questionnaire/survey found that the majority of the 42 EPSC applications are not used. The most commonly used EPSC devices included: silt fences with and without wire backing, rock check dams and enhanced rock check dams, sediment tubes, catch basin protections, mulching/seeding, sediment filer bags or modifications to this device, and temporary slope drains on exposed steep slopes. The results of the questionnaire were consistent with the on-site field visits and discussions with the TDOT field inspectors. The survey also identified that there is a need for better contractor training for installation and maintenance of EPSC devices through most are Level I certified for installation of erosion control practices. Further investigation specific to contractors through a targeted survey could be beneficial to better understand why they are not following through on-site with their training knowledge. General installation issues can be grouped into two categories: 1) improvements on standards/plans and 2) field installation practices. Another related identified issue was that in many cases the quantities listed on the standard drawings are short, and a review of these quantities is warranted. This study was a qualitative assessment of the 42 EPSC devices in the TDOT Roadway Drainage Manual that provided valuable information on device installation, performance, an maintenance. The information derived from the questionnaire and field site visits can be used to develop a more quantitative survey with targeted questions, particularly for those devices commonly used. This study also provides TDOT information on which EPSC devices to focus on to make improvements to standard drawings, specifications and material qualities, and cost estimates on the most commonly used devices.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $64543
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Tennessee Department of Transportation

    James K. Polk Building
    Fifth and Deaderick Street
    Nashville, TN  United States  37243-0349
  • Managing Organizations:

    Tennessee Department of Transportation

    James K. Polk Building
    Fifth and Deaderick Street
    Nashville, TN  United States  37243-0349
  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Tennessee, Knoxville

    Center for Transportation Research
    Conference Center Building
    Knoxville, TN  United States  37996-4133
  • Principal Investigators:

    Schwartz, John

  • Start Date: 20151001
  • Expected Completion Date: 20181130
  • Actual Completion Date: 20181130
  • USDOT Program: Transportation, Planning, Research, and Development

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01764376
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Tennessee Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: RES2016-19
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Feb 3 2021 3:31PM