Erosion and Sediment Control

Poster Presentation

Full-Scale Performance Evaluations of Various Non-Woven, Wire Backed Silt Fence Installation Configurations

Tuesday, February 13
1:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Level of Presentation: All: Suitable for a broad audience

Silt fence performance, when used as a perimeter control, can be affected by a wide variety of factors (i.e., material properties, installation techniques, and site characteristics). The ability to evaluate differences in such factors provides a corridor for improvement that would likely go unnoticed in uncontrolled field conditions. The sediment barrier testing apparatus at the Auburn University Erosion and Sediment Control Test Facility (AU-ESCTF) has shown that by consistently replicating factors such as: topography, flow rate, and sediment loading; performance evaluations can be conducted on various types of sediment barriers and installation methods. This presentation will discuss eight different installation configurations tested on a non-woven, wire backed reinforced silt fence to determine performance as it relates to structural integrity, sediment retention, and water quality.

Silt fences have long since been a key component for controlling construction site stormwater runoff; nonetheless, many silt fences fail to perform in the field as intended. Silt fences are temporary sediment control measures used to retain sediment on-site while simultaneously discharging stormwater runoff at a controlled rate. The effectiveness of a silt fence depends on many factors (i.e., design storm, site topography, material properties, and longevity requirements), all of which need to be considered when developing a stormwater pollution prevention plan. This study evaluated the performance of eight alternative configurations of the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) standard, non-woven, wire backed reinforced silt fence. Standard installation parameters associated with the ALDOT silt fence include: (1) 32-inch tall fence, (2) 0.95 lb/ft support t-post, and (3) 10 ft t-post spacing. Throughout the series of configurations tested, these standard parameters were varied individually and jointly in efforts to improve overall performance. Variations to the standard parameters include: (1) 24-inch tall fence, (2) 1.25 lb/ft support t-post, (3) 5 ft t-post spacing, and (4) trench offsetting. Performance analyses were conducted on each configuration and results were evaluated to determine the best overall configuration to enhance the in-field performance of the ALDOT silt fence.

Learning Objectives:

Target Audience: Academic,Consultant,Contractor,Engineer,Government Agency,Storm Water

J. Blake Whitman

Graduate Research Assistant
Auburn University - Department of Civil Engineering

Blake Whitman is a Graduate Research Assistant pursuing a Ph.D. in the Department of Civil Engineering at Auburn University. He specializes in construction site logistics planning, construction site erosion and sediment control practices, heavy civil project management, and municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) analysis. Blake earned his M.S. (2014) and B.S. (2012) in civil engineering from Auburn University. He has worked as a project manager within the private construction industry, as well as with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Blake developed and implemented a methodology for surveying and analyzing the MS4 infrastructure at Fort Benning, GA, and has conducted research on site logistics optimization and planning. Currently his research efforts at the Auburn University – Erosion and Sediment Control Testing Facility focus on improving sediment barrier standard practices for the Alabama Department of Transportation.


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Full-Scale Performance Evaluations of Various Non-Woven, Wire Backed Silt Fence Installation Configurations


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