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Rolled erosion control products (RECP) are one of the most commonly used “best management” material classes, but come in a plethora of materials and configurations. Certification makes choosing the right product for a job much easier.
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Look for this label. The Erosion Control Technology Council's Quality Data Oversight and Review (QDOR) program certifies product performance using objective, peer-reviewed data. Photo: Erosion Control Technology Council

By Laurie Honnigford

With communities and developers required to comply with increasingly stringent erosion and sediment control regulations, having confidence in the erosion control product you're considering — or have already chosen — is paramount.

Unfortunately, specifying a material or product can be daunting.

Take, for instance, one of the most common classifications: “rolled erosion control product” (RECP). This is a broad designation for products used for (among other applications) inlet protection, roadside vegetation establishment, and stormwater channel and slope security.

The materials used to make these products and their configurations are just as diverse: straw, wood, coconut, and synthetic fibers; single nets, double nets, and netless constructions; biodegradable or synthetic thread; synthetic-backed turf reinforcement mats; etc. It's an enormous spectrum.

Site conditions affect selection (and performance): slope angle, soil type, climate, vegetation timeline needs, and potential water velocity over the product are just some factors to consider.

To help you sort through the options, the nonprofit Erosion Control Technology Council has launched Quality Data Oversight and Review (QDOR). This peer-reviewed certification program ensures product claims match verifiable, objective data.

The program is designed to help government agencies, engineers, specifiers, and inspectors use rolled erosion control products effectively. In transportation projects, for example, certification can be used to develop or further refine an approved product list for DOT-funded construction.

Certification assures owners and builders who are under pressure to stop construction site runoff that materials meet not just the general description of products necessary for compliance, but are backed by data-verified performance.

Inspectors and regulators benefit from having an easy-to-identify, objective measure for baseline jobsite performance, at the root of which is not a particular type of construction material but its actual performance capabilities.

A stringent approval process

Approved products receive a stamp that's very much like the independent Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label. One need only look for the UL stamp to know the product meets certain industry agreed-upon baselines for quality, safety, and performance.

Certification provides for erosion control product specification that same material quality and performance confidence. The review process is based on index testing from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (AASHTO-NTPEP) and large-scale performance data, specifically ASTM D6459 and ASTM D6460.

Manufacturers and suppliers also must also prove their product is tested according to the requirements of the Erosion Control Technology Council's Quality Data Oversight and Review Guidance Manual, which can be downloaded for free (warning: it's 162 pages) at www.ectc.org. All products must have data verified by the laboratory that conducts the testing. An online data collection system is used for detailed collection of information. A peer-review protocol must be adhered to.

Only after satisfying all these requirements may a product carry the official logo (see previous page).

More product categories on tap

While the program was launched with rolled erosion control products, it's not intended to be solely an RECP-vetting program. Like the UL label, the process is adaptable to multiple classes of materials, so long as there are current, applicable standards and performance-oriented data upon which to establish a baseline for future certifications.

Discussions are under way to establish a home within the program for one of the industry's fastest-growing markets: hydraulically applied erosion control products. The Erosion Control Technology Council is also looking into adding sediment retention fiber rolls — another fast-growing product segment — as the program expands and adapts with the industry's needs.

— Honnigford (laurie@ectc.org) is executive director of the Erosion Control Technology Council.

WEB EXTRA

Search the Quality Data Oversight and Review (QDOR) product database at www.qdor.com.