As of October 1, 2016, the SWUTC concluded its 28 years of operation and is no longer an active center of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. The archived SWUTC website remains available here.


SWUTC Research Project Description

Developing the Hydraulics, Sedimentation and Erosion Control Laboratory to Become a Hands-on Training and Educational Center

University:  Texas A&M University

Principal Investigator:
Ming-Han Li
Texas Transportation Institute
(979) 845-7571

Project Monitor:
Jon Geiselbrecht
Texas Department of Transportation

Funding Source:  State of Texas General Revenue Funds

Total Project Cost: $45,000

Project Number:  161306

Date Started: 11/1/12

Estimated Completion Date:  10/31/13

Project Summary

Project Abstract:
TTI’s Hydraulics, Sedimentation and Erosion Control Laboratory is a leading research, testing and educational facility in soil erosion and stormwater topical areas. The lab is continuously updating its expertise and services, and has lately moved into the new knowledge areas in low impact development techniques and green infrastructure.  Expanding from the lab’s current realm of activities, this project will provide a master plan that enables the lab to develop hands-on training for transportation professionals and provide high-impact education for students.  The hands-on part is unique and fills the gap in those continuing education seminars/webinars offered in the market.  In addition to professional training and academic teaching/learning, the researchers envision the training workshops following the development of the master plan will facilitate networking among the TTI researchers, professionals and students further.

Project Objectives:
The objectives or this project are to:

  • Develop a master plan for hands-on training for the HSECL
  • Engage TAMU landscape architecture students in developing the master plan
  • Develop soil erosion and LID training course modules with hands-on and demonstration activities using the HSECL
  • Develop materials for announcement and advertisement (brochure, flyers, web site markup, etc.)
  • Build one large-scale soil erosion and/or LID models for hands-on training

Task Descriptions:
Task 1: Collect and Review Training Courses in The Market
The researchers will collect information of soil erosion and LID training courses offered in the market. The researchers will study what specific subjects are included and how they are taught. Information to be gathered also includes duration, frequency of offerings, instructor background, continuing education requirements, etc. If data are available, the researchers will compare courses that are highly desired and those that are not. Disciplines considered in this task include civil engineering, soil erosion, landscape architecture, etc. The findings will guide the research team in developing a successful training program.

Task 2: Identify the Strengths and Weaknesses of the HSECL in Terms of Professional Training Competiveness
This analysis task will help the researchers tailor current course materials for the new hands-on training. Data and information gathered from Task 1 will also guide the direction of course development.

Task 3: Conduct Design Charrette to Generate Design Ideas for the Master Plan
During the Fall semester of 2012, information of the HSECL such as maps and facility/building plans will be gathered. Preliminary training program ideas will be generated. Based on the preliminary programs, the researchers will call for collaboration from TAMU landscape architecture programs. The intention is to use the SWUTC project as a class design problem to generate alternatives for the master plan during the Spring semester of 2013. The researchers will serve as reviewers and provide design critiques. Competition-based scholarships will be provided to students. Tentatively awards are to be provided in three categories: the best overall, the most innovative and the best communication.

Task 4: Develop Training Course Modules
The findings from Task 1 will set the general direction where the hands-on training course should head to. This task is to specifically develop course modules that can be used, including soil erosion and sediment control, bioretention system, porous pavement, green roofs, rainwater harvesting, sustainable planting, etc.

Task 5: Build Large-scale Models for Hands-on Training
The budget may allow for constructing one large-scale model. The researchers’ current idea includes a bioretention model, a porous pavement model or a green roof system. Components will be created so that on-site demonstrations during the training are possible.

Task 6: Produce Training Program Brochures and Make Signs
The design charrette conducted in landscape architecture studios will include a task of designing brochures for advertisement and signs to be installed at the HSECL. The researchers will use the various ideas generated from Task 3 for this task.

Task 7: Master Plan and Final Report
Master plan of the training site will be finalized and produced. The researchers anticipate that present equipment and a new model to be built will be included in the master plan. Future growth and phasing plans will be addressed as well. The final report will include a complete description of the project, approach, methodology, design process, results, conclusions, and recommendations.

Implementation of Research Outcomes:
The Sedimentation and Erosion Control (SEC) Laboratory at Texas A&M University has an established reputation as a renowned soil erosion research facility in the United States since its inception in 1990. During the past two decades, the lab has expanded its original performance evaluation task to cutting-edge stormwater research, as well as professional training development. The researchers affiliated with the SEC Lab have also developed numerous training courses.

In the market of the continuing education industry, a popular business is to provide courses on soil erosion and Low Impact Development (LID) subjects. As demand grows for this subject, there are more and more continuing education programs starting to set up training courses on this topic. However, those programs rarely can provide hands-on training. Therefore, the opportunity arises where Texas A&M Transportation Institute can depend on the SEC Lab for hands-on exercises to be integrated in professional training, continuing education and high-impact learning experiences for current TAMU students, regional municipalities, and other professionals in the design and construction industries.

Products developed by this research:

Training Program Promotional Materials (flyers)

Course Modules:  Four Low Impact Development (LID) Course Modules

Models:  Two Large-scale LID models

Master Plan:  for the SEC Lab

Future Presentations Planned:  To the International Erosion Control Association and the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting.

Impacts/Benefits of Implementation:
If the proposed master plan developed by this effort is implemented, there will be physical changes to the SEC Lab.  Examples include porous paving station, sustainable planting demonstration, bioretention BMPs, etc.  The Lab will provide hands-on training meant to bring various disciplines together in one training program so that cross-disciplinary interchanges can occur.

This project would impact on the transportation workforce in the following aspects:

  1. They will learn how to apply LID techniques on transportation environments to manage stormwater runoff better.
  2. Students can access the SEC Lab to do hands-on learning about soil erosion and LID.
  3. Part of the SEC Lab’s hands-on learning facilities can be used for research.

Web Links:
Project Report