About the SEC Lab
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s Sediment and Erosion Control Laboratory (SEC Lab) provides the transportation industry with a research and performance evaluation program for roadside environmental management. The program includes storm water quality improvement, erosion and sediment control, and vegetation establishment and management.
TTI’s Environment and Planning Program operates this 19-acre, full scale, indoor/outdoor facility. Demand for the facility has steadily grown for over 20 years, necessitating the recent expansion to meet the industry’s research needs. With funding from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), TTI produces and maintains the TxDOT Approved Products List (APL) for all sediment and erosion control products used by TxDOT on Texas roadsides. Three major aspects of the lab are the indoor rain simulators, sediment retention device flume, and variable slope channel flume. In addition to this equipment, the SEC Lab also houses a 2,800-square-foot climate-controlled greenhouse, small footprint stormwater quality structure, index testing laboratory, bench-scale testing capabilities, 65-foot concrete flume, 1,000 linear feet of 25-feet tall soil embankment built with 2:1 and 3:1 slopes per highway specifications, and 10 at-grade channels 85-feet in length.
2013 Lab Expansion
To expedite product and device performance evaluations and to enable additional research and development, the SEC Lab was recently expanded. The expansion included a new rainfall simulator building that houses three 8-feet by 40-feet variable slope soil fill test beds that accommodate any slope up to 2:1 (50%).
The new facility will continue producing the water drop size distribution and impact velocity typically used as part of the TxDOT APL performance evaluation protocol. However, the new facility design includes new testing capabilities to ensure compliance with ASTM standard test methods. This new rainfall simulator facility opened on September 4 and a calibration period will follow. Testing under the new protocol is scheduled for fall 2013.
Adjacent to the new rainfall simulator building is a 1,500-foot covered sediment bed preparation area. This area creates a dry work space for storage of the new larger test beds during inclement weather. The expansion also includes a 40-foot by 60-foot soil storage building that allows for test bed preparation during rain events without affecting antecedent soil moisture, a critical factor in the indoor testing procedure.
The existing rainfall building was also being modified to expedite testing. The building was originally designed for manual sediment collection. In fall 2012, the existing sediment collection pits were expanded to enable the use of larger collection devices to reduce the amount of testing time required. To handle the larger loads, a 4-ton overhead bridge crane also was installed.
For More Information
Jett A. McFalls
Assistant Research Scientist
Environment and Planning – Gilchrist, Room 371
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Texas A&M University System
College Station, TX 77843-3135
ph. (979) 317-2801 x42801 · fax (979) 862-1759