The Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s (TTI’s) Sediment and Erosion Control Laboratory (SEC Lab) was awarded the Environmental Excellence Award during the International Erosion Control Association (IECA) annual conference and expo in Atlanta, Georgia, Feb. 22.
“This was certainly a pleasant surprise,” says Assistant Research Scientist Jett McFalls, who manages the SEC Lab. “We had no knowledge that we were even being considered for the award. This is a true honor because everyone in our industry is familiar with the award and knows its significance.”
As IECA’s premiere recognition, the Environmental Excellence Award “recognizes an outstanding stormwater and erosion and/or sediment control project, program or operation that demonstrates excellence in natural resource conservation and environmental protection.”
The SEC Lab was established in 1990 and covers 19 acres at Texas A&M University’s RELLIS Campus. The facility includes indoor rain simulators, a sediment retention device flume, and a variable slope channel flume. Other equipment includes a 2,800 square-foot climate-controlled greenhouse and a small footprint stormwater quality structure.
McFalls credits the Texas Department of Transportation for its environmental efforts and its continued support, which includes funding, of SEC Lab testing. He learned that the lab was nominated for the award by Michael Harding, a well-known and respected environmental scientist and former IECA president.
“This award for TTI’s SEC Lab is long overdue,” Harding says. “The lab is top-notch and has set the standard for the industry. It truly is a game changer, and needed to be recognized for its leadership in erosion control and its contributions to the environment.”
In announcing the award, IECA wrote: “The SEC Lab has contributed to ASTM erosion control materials testing specifications and set the international standard for performance evaluation of materials manufactured for erosion and sediment control. In that regard, the SEC Lab methodology, scientific design and approach have long served as a model for similar facilities throughout the world. The TAMU SEC Lab has contributed significantly to the body of knowledge related to the effectiveness of alternative approaches to erosion control through its field and laboratory testing programs. For many years, the SEC Lab has been the go-to facility for IECA member-manufacturers seeking to understand the erosion control effectiveness of their products and for those seeking to develop or improve their products for the erosion control industry.”