A new sediment device testing facility at TTI’s Hydraulic, Sedimentation, and Erosion Control Laboratory (HSECL) at the Riverside Campus puts TTI and the Texas Department of Transportation “way ahead” of future, strict run-off regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“For the first time, run-off at construction sites will have to meet EPA restrictions called Effluent Limitation Guidelines,” says Assistant Research Scientist Jett McFalls. “Although we don’t expect the new guidelines to come out for a few years, we’ll already know which products meet those restrictions, which gives us a great advantage.”
Contaminants in run-off are considered the number one pollution problem in the U.S. because they can adversely affect wildlife and water supplies. TTI’s first-of-its-kind sediment testing facility will measure the effectiveness of the various erosion control devices on the market.
“The facility was built this year and is a great addition to the lab,” says Assistant Research Specialist Derrold Foster, the on-site lab manager. “It allows us to effectively measure the amount of contaminants that pass through the device that’s being tested.”
Members of the HSECL Pooled Fund Project toured the new facility as part of their annual visit in April. Members of the pooled fund include Departments of Transportation (DOTs) from Texas, Missouri, Louisiana, Nebraska and Nevada. In exchange for their contributions to the lab, the DOTs are given priority in receiving test results and use of the lab. Twenty other states use the data collected from the HSECL for their state’s programs.
In addition to the new facility tour, members of the pooled fund heard details of two new research projects conducted by TTI’s Environmental Management Group: a bio-retention project and a low-slope runoff project.