The expanded Sediment Erosion Control (SEC) Laboratory officially opened its sprayers on September 4 marking the completion of a year-long construction project that more than doubles the capabilities of the research facility. The grand opening was celebrated with a two-day event that also featured a sediment and erosion control workshop.
“The main benefit is that there will be no more long waiting lists to get products tested,” said Prozzi. “In some cases, we had sponsors waiting up to two years for testing. This expansion will allow us to be more responsive, and also give us the capacity to do research. Previously our facility was tied up with product testing, but with the expansion we may dedicate test beds to research.”
The expansion includes 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 percent). 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 new facility will continue to evaluate products under the long established protocol developed for the TxDOT Approved Products List. The new SEC Lab design will also have ASTM standard test method capabilities.
“This is one of the success stories of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) cooperative program,” said TTI Director Dennis Christiansen. “We began this about 20 years ago as a way to test products for TxDOT, and it grew to the point where demand greatly exceeded capacity. This expanded facility offers us a lot of opportunities going forward as we now have the ability to test products through ASTM standards.”
The SEC Lab is housed in TTI’s Environment and Planning Program. The other program components include research and professional development.
“The completion of this facility was no small endeavor on TTI and TxDOT’s part,” said TxDOT Design Division Director Mark Marek. “The additions and renovations of this new sedimentation and erosion control lab will expedite product information in this area and we at TxDOT are proud to be one of TTI’s partners.” (Scroll down to watch additional Marek comments.)
For more information, visit the SEC Lab website.