Technical Committee of Geotechnics of Soil Erosion
Geo-Institute, American Society of Civil Engineers

Erosion Committee Home

The technical committee of the Geotechnics of Soil Erosion of the GeoInstitute of the American Society of Civil Engineers was organized in 2003. This committee is an organization of individuals from academia, engineering practice, and government who are interested in soil erosion and its remediation measures.

Soil erosion is a very important topic, where geotechnical engineers can and will play an increasingly important role. There are over 600,000 bridges in the USA, 500,000 of which are over rivers. Over 20,000 of these 500,000 bridges have been declared scour critical (calculated scour depth is deeper than the foundation depth under the design flood) by the Federal Highway Administration. 1000 bridges have collapsed between 1961 and 1991 with associated deaths in the USA and scour was responsible for 60% of those failures. The nation’s yearly budget for flood repair on the federal highway system was over $50M in 1995. This is a problem in nearly all countries, such as in Japan (railroads), New Zealand (highways), UK (railroads), and the USA (highways). At the same time, solutions to the problem of scour have been lacking proper consideration for the soil component. This greatly limits their applicability. There is a growing movement towards involving the geotechnical engineer in scour studies and the GI Committee on Geotechnics of Soil Erosion aims to guide this effort and help in sustaining this type of important infrastructure in the nation.

The United States faces many problems related to soil erosion. They are political, economic and engineering related. We can help in the engineering arena by:

  • Promoting the sharing of knowledge on engineering research and practice among academia, governments, private firms and with others who are interested in the topic (regional workshops, short courses, web pages).
  • Increasing the exchange of national and international research progress (conferences).
  • Improving and developing global guidelines (reports, web based documents).


Mission of the Committee

The topics covered by this committee shall be the geotechnical engineering aspects of the erosion of soils including the prediction, prevention, and monitoring of the following examples:

  • Erosion at bridges and dams (scour).
  • Meander migration and other riverbed evolutions.
  • Erosion at inlets including tidal problems.
  • Piping of dams.
  • Erosion of tailing dams.
  • Slope Erosion.
  • Erosion near platforms and pipelines.
  • Beach, sea cliff, lake bluff, riverbank erosion.
  • Erosion of highways and other embankments.
  • Sediment loads in water.


Comments or questions? Contact the Committee Chair. Dr. Ming Xiao: