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May/June 2008

Testing for Sediment Retention Devices Provided by New Standard

Sediment Retention Device

A Sediment Retention Device in Action

An innovative system that can be used to test and compare sediment control products has been approved as a new ASTM International standard by Committee D18 on Soil and Rock. The standard, D7351, Test Method for Determination of Sediment Retention Device Effectiveness in Sheet Flow Applications, is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee D18.25 on Erosion and Sediment Control Technology.

Sediment is a leading pollutant of water resources even though sediment control best management practices are often used to control it. A sediment retention device traps and allows the settlement of soil particles from sediment-filled water to reduce the transport of eroded soil from a disturbed site by water runoff. A variety of such devices, including silt fences, rice or straw wattles, filter logs, compost socks and berms, and storm water inlet protectors, are currently being manufactured.

The new standard will be used to determine a quantitative measure of performance and an identification of limitations for sediment retention devices. In addition to quantitative properties, the standard can be used to evaluate qualities such as effectiveness, ease of installation, risk of failure and economics.

“The timing of this standard couldn’t be better,” says C. Joel Sprague, senior engineer, TRI/Environmental Inc. “Regulators are becoming very conscious of the need to quantify sediment retention device effectiveness under standardized, full-scale, relevant conditions to facilitate appropriate ‘apples-to-apples’ comparisons of the rapidly growing number of sediment retention devices available and the ever bolder claims made as to their effectiveness.”

Sprague notes that Subcommittee D18.25 welcomes new participants. “We are very active these days and there is much participation by product/system manufacturers,” says Sprague. “More participation by users and regulators would be very beneficial to the standards development process.”


Technical Information: C. Joel Sprague, TRI/Environmental Inc., Greenville, S.C.

Phone: 864/242-2220

ASTM Staff: Robert Morgan

Phone: 610/832-9732