The first thing a visitor to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s new Sediment Erosion Control (SEC) Laboratory notices is “this place is really big!” And indeed with over 3,600 square feet of expanded research capabilities featuring the ability to conduct ASTM testing, the SEC Lab is poised to become the go-to place for sediment and erosion research not only in Texas, but America. The building is mostly complete with only the testing equipment left to install.
“At one point we had a year and a half waiting list for people requesting testing,” said Jett McFalls, manager of the SEC Lab. “When this expansion is complete, it will more than double our current capabilities and help to get the waiting list down to a more manageable level.”
The SEC Lab expansion features:
- ASTM testing capabilities,
- three 40-foot by 8-foot long soil trays (current lab has two 30 X 6-foot trays),
- restroom facilities,
- a covered bed prep area,
- a viewing mezzanine stand,
- a soil storage building, and
- an enhanced sediment collection system.
According to McFalls, the construction team applied lessons learned from the original SEC Lab to enhance the capabilities of the new structure.
“It’s little things like inverting the railing system for easier tray set-up and access and installing the catwalk so visitors can safely view a rainfall simulation that will make this an attractive research facility for new clients,” said McFalls.
Also making the facility attractive to new clients is the improved research responsiveness that will come with the expansion.
“The plan is to leave one of the five testing bays open,” says McFalls. “That way, if a client calls and needs something done quickly, we can accommodate their request instead of having to tell them no because we don’t have the room.”
The grand opening of the SEC Lab will be held on September 4 and 5. The event includes a ribbon cutting ceremony, tour of the expanded SEC Lab, pre-workshop social hour and keynote address, and a Sediment and Erosion Control workshop.
For more information, please visit the SEC Lab website at https://rellis.tamus.edu/facilities/sediment-and-erosion-control-lab/.