Journal article

Analysis of mechanical-hydraulic bedload deposition control measures

During floods, the bedload transport of steep headwaters can exceed the hydraulic transport capacity of milder downstream reaches where settlements are often situated. Therefore, sediment retention barriers are typically installed upstream of such sensible areas. These barriers trigger bedload trapping via two control mechanisms, either hydraulic or mechanical. Both deposition controls, pertaining to instream sediment trapping structures, are analyzed experimentally in this study. Bedload trapping by hydraulically controlled barriers is prone to sediment flushing, i.e., the remobilization of formerly deposited sediment, in particular when the barrier is simultaneously under- and overflown. In this case, the remobilization rate is close to the bedload transport capacity of the nonconstricted channel. Mechanical deposition control by screens is in turn sensible to the grain size. Thus, both deposition control concepts may fail, and bedload may be transported downstream at a rate corresponding to the transport capacity of headwaters, thereby endangering urban areas. This study shows that the combination of both deposition control concepts is suitable for improving the control of bedload retention. With this combination, undesired sediment flushing of upstream deposits in the channel caused by insufficient hydraulic control is prevented. Furthermore, the uncertainty related to the estimation of the representative grain size in the design of mechanical control barriers is reduced.

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