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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 18, issue 2 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 647-668, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 02 Mar 2018

Research article | 02 Mar 2018

Sediment traps with guiding channel and hybrid check dams improve controlled sediment retention

Sebastian Schwindt1,2, Mário J. Franca1,3, Alessandro Reffo4, and Anton J. Schleiss1 Sebastian Schwindt et al.
  • 1Laboratory of Hydraulic Constructions (LCH), École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), 1015, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 2Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, UC Davis, Davis, 95616, California, USA
  • 3Water Science and Engineering Department, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Delft, 2611, the Netherlands
  • 4Ingenieure Patscheider & Partner GmbH, Bolzano, 39100, Italy

Abstract. Sediment traps with partially open check dams are crucial elements for flood protection in alpine regions. The trapping of sediment is necessary when intense sediment transport occurs during floods that may endanger urban areas at downstream river reaches. In turn, the unwanted permanent trapping of sediment during small, non-hazardous floods can result in the ecological and morphological degradation of downstream reaches. This study experimentally analyses a novel concept for permeable sediment traps. For ensuring the sediment transfer up to small floods, a guiding channel implemented in the deposition area of a sediment trap was systematically studied. The bankfull discharge of the guiding channel corresponds to a dominant morphological discharge. At the downstream end of the guiding channel, a permeable barrier (check dam) triggers sediment retention and deposition. The permeable barrier consists of a bar screen for mechanical deposition control, superposed to a flow constriction for the hydraulic control. The barrier obstructs hazardous sediment transport for discharges that are higher than the bankfull discharge of the guiding channel without the risk of unwanted sediment flushing (massive self-cleaning).

Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Mountain rivers can mobilize important amounts of sediment that endanger downstream dwellers and infrastructure during floods. Sediment traps are built immediately upstream of urban areas to retain hazardous sediment. However, many sediment traps retain too much sediment, which is then missing in downstream river sections, leading to a poor eco-morphological state. This study proposes an experimental research-based solution to improve sediment traps using a guiding channel.
Mountain rivers can mobilize important amounts of sediment that endanger downstream dwellers and...