CEDA Iberian Conference

Dredging for sustainable port development


27-28 October 2016, Lisbon, Portugal

R. Gardner, Anchor QEA, LLC, USA

In the United States (U.S.) fewer and fewer projects receive approval for open water disposal of dredged sediment. In many regions, landfill disposal is an expensive, sometimes cost prohibitive, alternative to open water disposal. As such, beneficial use has become an increasingly desirable option for sustainable sediment management.

In recent decades, dredged sediment has been used as a valuable resource in a wide range of projects including aquatic habitat restoration, land reclamation, levee construction, and landfill closures. However, new science is altering our understanding of acceptable risk levels for soils and sediment, which is limiting the potential for these uses. Sediments that were once approved for such beneficial use are now often characterized, regulated, and disposed of as waste. Progressive policies that support and promote beneficial uses of dredged sediment are needed to achieve a sustainable approach to sediment management. These policies must not only consider science and environmental aspects, but also need to factor economic and social considerations. Innovative management solutions, based on lessons learned in the cleanup of contaminated sediment sites, may help breakthrough these barriers to beneficial use.

Several guidance documents (e.g., SMOCS and various publications by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) have been developed and provide a range of solutions for managing dredged sediment from navigation projects and environmental cleanup projects. The presentation will focus on lessons learned from completed navigation and environmental dredging projects initiated to support more sustainable management of contaminated sediment and overall toxics reduction. Various case studies will be discussed including the Poplar Island habitat restoration and dredged material management project in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, U.S.

Last update: 19 October 2016