Using LiDAR to Measure Sediment Retention by Sediment Barriers


Sediment barriers are an important part of an erosion control plan on a jobsite. If not controlled, sediment can flow to neighboring properties, into sewer systems, lakes, and rivers. Testing the limitations and failure points of these barriers, through experimental testing, is an effective way to understand their limitations. The primary way to evaluate the effectiveness of a sediment barrier is to measure how much sediment it retains. Full-scale sediment barrier testing is conducted at the Auburn University Erosion and Sediment Control Testing Facility. The quantity of sediment retained by sediment barriers is currently measured using a Trimble Total Station. However, this method has proven to be less than reliable as well as very time-consuming. The goal of this research was to develop a more accurate way to quantify sediment retention and ultimately create a new standard to help access sediment barrier performance. To that end, this research used LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) to measure the retained sediment. Both LiDAR and Trimble Total Station were used to determine volumetric differences in sediment deposits upstream of a sediment barrier. The results were then analyzed and compared. The results concluded that not only can LiDAR be used in a full-scale testing setting, it also is much more accurate that the Trimble Total Station. The results also proved that LiDAR is easier and less time consuming to use than the Trimble Total Station.

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Alan Bugg