Analyzing Flow Characteristics of Wattles Using a State-of-the-Art Hydraulic Flume

Blake Whitman, PhD, PE, CPESC

Standard testing methodologies for evaluating wattle performance mainly focus on parameters such as sediment retention and turbidity reduction. While these parameters are certainly applicable, could additional metrics be used to quantify and evaluate in-field performance capabilities? This study aimed to develop a testing methodology for evaluating wattle performance strictly based on hydrodynamic parameters (i.e., impoundment depth and subcritical flow length) measured using a 40-foot state-of-the-art flume. Results from this study ultimately suggest that wattles can be categorized based on hydrodynamic properties and that wattle fill materials play an important roll in hydraulic performance.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Gain insight on a newly developed testing methodology which analyses impoundment flow characteristics of sediment control devices.
  • Attain an overview on manufactured wattle properties and design characteristics.
  • Explore in-depth analyses that evaluate and compare the performance of different wattle filter media materials.

Presented by Blake Whitman, PhD, PE, CPESC – Assistant Professor, Middle Tennessee State University

Blake is an Assistant Professor in the School of Concrete and Construction Management at Middle Tennessee State University. He specializes in construction site erosion and sediment control design and implementation, heavy civil project management, and MS4 analysis. Blake earned his Ph.D. (2018), M.S. (2014), and B.S. (2012) in civil engineering from Auburn University. He has experience as a project manager within the private construction industry, as well as with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He developed and implemented a methodology for surveying and analyzing the MS4 infrastructure at Fort Benning, GA, and has conducted research focusing on small- and large-scale testing techniques for improving the performance of sediment barrier practices. His current research efforts focus on evaluating and improving erosion and sediment control practices installed on DOT construction sites, evaluating the hydraulic performance of wattle ditch checks, using RTK GNSS and LIDAR to analyze sediment transport, and improving educational outreach within the construction industry.