IECA Releases New Standards

Silt Fence

By Michael A. Perez, Ph.D., CPESC, Auburn University

The IECA Standards and Practices (S&P) Committee has developed new performance-based standards for the design, installation and maintenance of sediment control practices. The S&P Committee has adopted a process in the design of standards that includes a thorough review of existing guidance and literature prior to the development of new guidance as needed. The review process includes the development of a synthesis based on existing designer guidance from federal agencies (FHWA, NRCS, EPA, etc.) and various state highway and environmental agencies. In addition, research reports and peer-reviewed journals are reviewed to incorporate research findings into guidance development. After the development of the synthesis, gaps in existing guidance are identified. The committee develops new guidance based on existing literature, professional knowledge and experience of the subject matter.

Design standards are intended to incorporate the best available technology and knowledge into an engineering-based approach. This includes the use of hydrologic design parameters such as flow rates and storage volumes. In addition to developing new standards, design guides and literature reviews are being developed for each sediment control practice evaluated. The design guides assist practitioners in implementing the standard by providing a discussion, formulas and a step-by-step approach to implementing the standard.

In January, the committee presented a webinar, entitled “A Performance-Based Design and Installation Standard for Silt Fence Sediment Barriers.” This webinar provided an overview of the silt fence standard that is intended to guide designers on the purpose, design, material selection, installation and maintenance of a silt fence when used as a temporary sediment control barrier for sheet flow applications to minimize sediment transport from a disturbed area susceptible to erosion. The standard uses a design storm approach to adequately size and place silt fence in three different installation configurations.
In March, a webinar on the sediment basin standard was presented. The webinar, “Performance-Based Design & Installation Standard for Sediment Basins,” provided details on the development of the standard and included details on the design approach.

Visit the IECA eHub ( to download the silt fence and sediment basin standards or view the recorded webinars. The committee values feedback and suggestions, which can be submitted through the eHub portal. Be on the lookout for an inlet protection standard, to be released later this year. 

About the Expert
Michael Perez, PhD, CPESC, is an assistant professor in Auburn University’s Department of Civil Engineering.