Op­por­tu­ni­ties emerg­ing for re­use of dredged ma­te­ri­als

Pub­lic in­vited to com­ment on draft pro­ce­dures

The Avenue News - - NEWS - By VIR­GINIA TERHUNE vter­[email protected]­pub.com Fol­low me on Twit­ter @Vir­gini­aTer­hune.

As wa­ter flows to­ward the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, it takes with it earth, clay and silt that ac­cu­mu­lates in the bot­tom of the Pat­ap­sco River, which is also the Port of Bal­ti­more’s main shipping chan­nel.

Mud and silt also move up the Bay to­ward Bal­ti­more with the in­com­ing tides.

The re­sult is that the Port needs to reg­u­larly dredge and main­tain the chan­nel at a 50foot depth to ac­com­mo­date large ships and re­main com­pet­i­tive with other East Coast ports.

Ev­ery year, the state dredges up five mil­lion cu­bic yards of ma­te­rial, which is enough to fill the Ravens Sta­dium more than twice over, said port of­fi­cials dur­ing a March 2 visit to the North Point Penin­sula Coun­cil in Edge­mere.

Of that to­tal, 1.5 mil­lion cu­bic yards comes from the Bal­ti­more Har­bor chan­nels, which in­clude the side chan­nels that serve the Port’s pub­lic Dun­dalk and Sea­girt ma­rine ter­mi­nals as well as the pri­vately run Trade­point At­lantic ter­mi­nal and the Spar­rows Point Ship­yard.

The Port can’t dump the dredged ma­te­ri­als out­side the Bal­ti­more Har­bor area, which means over time, it will run out of places to de­posit the ma­te­rial un­less it finds ways to safely and eco­nom­i­cally re­use some of it.

The Port and the Mary­land Depart­ment of the En­vi­ron­ment (MDE) are in the process now of invit­ing pub­lic com­ment on draft pro- ce­dures in a doc­u­ment called “In­no­va­tive Re­use and Ben­e­fi­cial Use of Dredged Ma­te­rial Draft Guid­ance Doc­u­ment.”

A pub­lic meet­ing to present the draft guid­ance and an­swer ques­tions is set for Tues­day, April 25, at 6 p.m. at MDE’s head­quar­ters at 1800 Wash­ing­ton Blvd. in south­west Bal­ti­more.

Pub­lic com­ments will ac­cepted through Fri­day, May 26, 2017.

“It is hoped that this doc­u­ment will en­cour­age fur­ther in­no­va­tion in the pri­vate sec­tor to use dredged ma­te­rial in en­vi­ron­men­tally-ben­e­fi­cial ways or as use­ful prod­ucts in the mar­ket­place,” ac­cord­ing to MDE.

De­pend­ing on the na­ture and con­tent of the ma­te­rial, dredged ma­te­ri­als can be used for projects such as :

• tem­po­rary and fi­nal cover for land­fills • build­ing foun­da­tions for road­way beds and park­ing lots or to build em­bank­ments

• re­claim­ing for­merly con­tam­i­nated brown­fields sites

• re­build­ing shore­lines and pro­vid­ing habi­tat for wildlife and birds

• adding to build­ing ma­te­ri­als, such as wood chips, lime, gyp­sum, Port­land ce­ment, com­post or biosolids

• us­ing as top­soil for land­scap­ing in pub­lic ar­eas.

Hart Miller is­land off the North Point penin­sula no longer ac­cepts dredged ma­te­ri­als, which leaves the Ma­sonville and Cox Creek con­tain­ment fa­cil­i­ties on the west side of the Pat­ap­sco River that will even­tu­ally run out of room.

Mean­while, there is cur­rently no es­tab­lished sys­tem for reg­u­lat­ing the use and re­use of dredged ma­te­ri­als.

“While Mary­land’s statute de­fines both ben­e­fi­cial use of dredged ma­te­rial and in­no­va­tive re­use of dredged ma­te­rial, the statute and reg­u­la­tions are silent as to how to im­ple­ment in­no­va­tive re­use projects,” ac­cord­ing to the In­no­va­tive and Ben­e­fi­cial Use Reg­u­la­tory In­ter­a­gency Work Group’s fi­nal report dated June 15, 2016.

“Specif­i­cally, there are no pro­gram­matic or reg­u­la­tory frame­works or screen­ing cri­te­ria in place to guide the ap­pli­ca­tion, ap­provals or per­mit­ting process for ini­ti­at­ing in­no­va­tive re­use projects in Mary­land,” the report said.

The 81-page draft guid­ance doc­u­ment out­lines poli­cies and pro­ce­dures for reusing dredged ma­te­ri­als as a safe and ef­fec­tive al­ter­na­tive to dis­posal.

“[It’s about] in­creas­ing the state’s op­tions and de­vel­op­ing dif­fer­ent ways of man­ag­ing the ma­te­ri­als,” said Matthew Rowe, act­ing direc­tor of MDE’s Sci­ence Ser­vices Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The draft doc­u­ment also in­cludes pro­posed tech­ni­cal screen­ing stan­dards to test for chem­i­cals and other ingredients in dredged ma­te­ri­als.

“Our role is we pro­vide the tech­ni­cal guid­ance to pro­tect health and the en­vi­ron­ment,” Rowe said.

The guid­ance doc­u­ment is posted at on MDE’s home page at www.mde and on the Port web­site at www.mpa.mary­land.gov//green­port/dmmp.

Ques­tions can be di­rected to Rowe by email­ing him at mde_­dredge.ma­te­ri­[email protected]­land.gov or writ­ing to Matthew Rowe, Act­ing Direc­tor, Sci­ence Ser­vices Ad­min­is­tra­tion, 1800 Wash­ing­ton Blvd., suite 540, Bal­ti­more MD 21230.


Barges take sed­i­ment dredged from the bot­tom of shipping chan­nels to con­tain­ment ar­eas.


Port of­fi­cials brought sam­ples of sed­i­ment to a meet­ing of the North Point Penin­sula Coun­cil on March 2. The state will soon post a plan for pub­lic com­ment on ways to re-use dredged ma­te­rial.

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