Performance Evaluations of Three Silt Fence Practices Using a Full-Scale Testing Apparatus

Date
2017-01-01
Authors
Bugg, R. Alan
Donald, Wesley
Zech, Wesley
Perez, Michael
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Abstract

Erosion and sediment controls on construction sites minimize environmental impacts from sediment-laden stormwater runoff. Silt fence, a widely specified perimeter control practice on construction projects used to retain sediment on-site, has limited performance-based testing data. Silt fence failures and resultant sediment losses are often the result of structural failure. To better understand silt fence performance, researchers at the Auburn University-Erosion and Sediment Control Testing Facility (AU-ESCTF) have evaluated three silt fence options to determine possible shortcomings using standardized full-scale testing methods. These methods subject silt fence practices to simulated, in-field conditions typically experienced on-site without the variability of field testing or the limited application of small-scale testing. Three different silt fence practices were tested to evaluate performance, which included: (1) Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) Trenched Silt Fence, (2) ALDOT Sliced Silt Fence, and (3) Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee (AL-SWCC) Trenched Silt Fence. This study indicates that the structural performance of a silt fence perimeter control is the most important performance factor in retaining sediment. The sediment retention performance of these silt fence practices was 82.7%, 66.9% and 90.5%, respectively. When exposed to large impoundment conditions, both ALDOT Trench and Sliced Silt Fence practices failed structurally, while the AL-SWCC Trenched Silt Fence did not experience structural failure.

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This article is published as Bugg, R. Alan, Wesley Donald, Wesley Zech, and Michael Perez. "Performance Evaluations of Three Silt Fence Practices Using a Full-Scale Testing Apparatus." Water 9, no. 7 (2017): 502. DOI: 10.3390/w9070502. Posted with permission.

Keywords
construction, erosion, full-scale testing, sediment barrier, sediment control, silt fence, water quality
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