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WEDA Midwest Chapter Omaha Meeting Focuses Beneficial Use, Contaminated Sediment, Safety and More

The Western Dredging Association (WEDA) Midwest Chapter board members: Greg Smith, JF Brennan, president;
Steve Garbaciak, Foth Infrastructure & Environment, vice president; Aaron Wright, Infrastructure Alternatives, secretary;; Tom Cappellino, Bon Vivant and Marcel Hermans, president of WEDA. Not pictured: Karl Schmitz, Corps Rock Island District, past president, Zach Kimmel, Corps St. Paul District, treasurer; and newly elected board member Ken Mika, Natural Resource Technology.

The Western Dredging Association (WEDA) Midwest Chapter board members: Greg Smith, JF Brennan, president; Steve Garbaciak, Foth Infrastructure & Environment, vice president; Aaron Wright, Infrastructure Alternatives, secretary;; Tom Cappellino, Bon Vivant and Marcel Hermans, president of WEDA. Not pictured: Karl Schmitz, Corps Rock Island District, past president, Zach Kimmel, Corps St. Paul District, treasurer; and newly elected board member Ken Mika, Natural Resource Technology.

Kirk Foley from Infrastructure Alternatives presented on the geotube installation for wetland creation at the Mile Point Training Wall in Jacksonville, Florida.

Jon Neiman from Midwest Foundation presented the lessons learned from the challenging Peoria Lake Island construction

Jim White from the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority talked about the dredging needs of the port and innovative beneficial use projects, as the state faces a ban on open-lake disposal in 2020.

The Western Dredging Association (WEDA) Midwest Chapter met in Omaha, Nebraska, from March 8 to 10 at the Embassy Suites Old Market hotel to discuss local projects and issues and chapter business matters, as well as some time for networking. Eighty people attended the event, along with 20 sponsors.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had 10 attendees. Last year, the Corps group put a lot of effort into the application package needed to get approval for Corps attendance. New chapter President Steve Gerbaciak said some of the former application package was usable from last year. However, the decision making was decentralized from headquarters, so modifications were made to meet local needs. Keeping the technical tour focused on dredging-related sites will also help Corps attendees gain the needed approvals in the future, Gerbaciak said.

In addition, he said, “We are relying on word-of-mouth from Corps personnel who attend and can relate the positive benefits from their participation. The reduction in WEDA membership costs for government employees also helps,” Gerbaciak said. “We hope to continue the active participation of the Corps districts and labs, so our members are in tune with the latest developments in dredging capabilities and opportunities.”

On Thursday, March 9, WEDA Midwest Chapter President Greg Smith, J.F. Brennan, welcomed the group and outlined the logistics for the two-day event. In describing the group, he said, “We’re a small group of marine professionals together to support each other.”

Tom Cappellino, WEDA executive director, and Marcel Hermann, WEDA president, introduced some of the new WEDA initiatives, including a separate website for the Dredging Conference & Expo in Vancouver this June (dredging-expo.com) in order to make it easier to locate information. Cappellino also encouraged any WEDA members to call him with suggestions or concerns. He thanked the attendees for the great member feedback he already receives.

EDUCATION SESSIONS

Kirk Foley from Infrastructure Alternatives began the day with a presentation on “Dredge Spoils Containment Construction for Emergent Wetland Marsh Creation.” He described a geotextile tube installation at the Mile Point Training Wall in Jacksonville, Florida. The project removed a portion of the existing training wall, constructed new eastern and western training walls, deepened a new flow improvement channel, and restored the Great Marsh Island, a 53-acre beneficial use site for marsh restoration, which sits behind the new 4,250-foot western training wall. To install and fill the geotubes, the project used two 100-foot by 40-foot shallow draft barges, two 14-foot work boats, two 8-inch submersible pumps, 6-inch centrifugal pump, 32,000-lb. excavator, amphibious excavator, 8-inch booster pump, 2,500 feet of 6-inch HDPE dredge line, 2,000 feet of 6-inch lay-flat hose, and 17, 60-foot (circumference) geotextile tubes, 210 feet long. The project included challenges with the tides and the timing of installation, where in some areas tubes were stacked three high. They also experienced some issues with tubes that settled into the foundation after they were filled, which required extra sand to stabilize the foundation.

Steve Gerbaciak of Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC gave a presentation on “Exercising Record of Decision Flexibility with a Contaminated Sediment Dredging Pilot Project at Ashland/NSP Superfund Site.” The record of decision for the project site, in Northern Wisconsin along Lake Superior, was made in 2010. Phase one of the project took place from 2013 to 2014 with the upland excavation, and phase two involved the waterway cleanup. A pilot study was completed in 2016 to show that dredging could meet the cleanup requirements. A breakwater barrier was also built in 2015 in the bay to control wave action during the pilot study. Phase two, the full-scale dredging is set to begin this spring.

Mike Ciarlo from EA Engineering, Science and Technology Inc., PBC, discussed “Standardizing Visual Characterization of NAPL in Sediment Cores to Facilitate Remedial Decision-Making.” Non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPLs) are often a part of sediment remediation. Ciarlo said NAPL is neither a sediment or a liquid and is considered a special case by regulatory agencies. Although the last decade has seen improvements in investigation methods, such as surveys or models, visual observation is still a key method for identifying NAPL. The project looked to develop a standardized methodology for visual characterization of NAPL, with standardized terminology and methods for identifying different types of NAPL. Using existing information and frameworks from groundwater remediation work, a NOAA shoreline assessment manual, specific to petroleum and beach residues, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation guidance for manufactured gas plan (MGP) sites, the project developed a proposed framework through case studies. The next phase involves field testing.

Justin Warren from Robishaw Engineering Inc., the manufacturer of Flexifloat, gave a presentation on the different dredge applications for Flexifloats. The Flexifloat construction system is a combination of portable interlocking modular barges and attachments used for inland marine construction and material transport applications. Flexifloat dredging applications include crane barges, excavator barges, dive platforms, floating bridges, pump platforms, transport barges and core drilling platforms. Flexifloats can be used in waters not accessible to conventional barges and can be configured to fit inside jobsite constraints.

Stan Ekren of Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. presented on the John Redmond Reservoir project and the Great Lakes safety journey. Dredging to restore capacity to the reservoir was complete in October 2016. (For more on the project, see the article in the IDR June 2016 issue.) A confined disposal facility (CDF) for the sediment was constructed from November 2015 to June 2016. Dewatering efforts in the CDF began in late 2016, and CDF reclamation will take place from 2017 to 2020. The second half of Ekren’s presentation focused on the development of the safety culture and the Incident & Injury Free (IIF) practices at GLDD.

Before his next presentation, Jim Wescott of Tetra Tech and former WEDA Midwest chapter board member, commented on the John Redmond project, which the group had first heard about four years prior during the St. Louis meeting. Susan Metzger from the Kansas Water Office presented the initial plans for the John Redmond Reservoir dredging project. “It was interesting to see that come to fruition,” Wescott said.

His presentation involved two case studies with dredging over reactive sediment caps. The two projects, an OMC plant site in Waukegan, Illinois, and the Grand Calumet River in Indiana, had engineered sediment caps that were re-contaminated from above. The project aimed to remove contamination from the surface of the cap, while minimizing loss of the cap material. The OMC project used diver assisted dredging from April to June 2016 and an amended concrete cap. The second project outlined sediment buildup near a CSO outfall in Hammond, along the Grand Calumet River. The dredging was done in the fall of 2016 and removed 800 cubic yards of sediment.

After the morning sessions, the attendees loaded buses to the Omaha Zoo for lunch and the annual business meeting, followed by an afternoon touring the zoo.

DAY TWO EDUCATION

Jon Neiman from Midwest Foundation talked about the lessons learned from the Peoria Lake Island construction. Midwest Foundation completed the project, along with the Corps of Engineers from 2009 to 2012. The beneficial use project was intended to create fish habitat. The project was challenged in many ways – limited pumping distances; dealing with different types of materials, such as trash, tires and other debris; very high water events; and clay material, which required an equipment change. There were also challenges with the budget, but in the end, the project and fish habitat were a success. The company learned valuable lessons about choosing the most efficient method of construction upfront, which Neiman could share with the group.

Rich Weber from NRT, an OBG Company, presented on the Fountain Lake Restoration project, which has been guided by the Shell Rock River Watershed District and part of a larger district wide program to improve waterrelated and natural resources in the district. This project aims to improve water quality at Fountain Lake, dredging accumulated sediment and reducing nutrient loads from downstream waterbodies. The current plan involves dredging about 50 percent of the lake surface area, approximately 1.2 million cubic yards of sediment, and creating a new confined disposal facility (CDF) for the sediment, including a weir structure to control the CDF discharges. Construction of the first CDF cell is planned for April to August 2017. The dredge design is complete and awaiting agency approvals. The first dredge contract bid is expected in May 2017 with dredging to begin in August or September 2017.

David Emerman from Ohio EPA and Jim White from Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority presented on “Sustainable Solutions for Dredged Materials Management in Ohio,” as they face an upcoming ban in 2020 on open-lake placement of dredged material in the state. Emerman said Ohio’s commercial harbors need about 1.5 million tons of dredged material removed annually, and Toledo and Cleveland harbors produce about 70 percent of that material. CDFs are limited and new beneficial uses are being explored. Ohio EPA said it is working with stakeholders and the state legislature to change the state law to be more favorable to beneficial use projects, and other measures including identifying sustainable funding sources for beneficial use projects, developing GIS-based tools to make it easier to match sources of dredged material with other uses, and using marketing and outreach to the public to quell any concerns that the material is toxic or waste.

White detailed some work of the port authority and described the annual dredging and practices for the port. The second half of his presentation focused on a new project the port authority has done in Findlay, Ohio, along the Cuyahoga River with Streamside Technologies, where the company’s bedload interceptor is reducing the overall dredging needed by colleting bedload sediments upstream in the natural flowing river. White said they want to reduce the overall dredged quantity by 10 to 15 percent. The sediment is also a commodity, for beneficial use as structural fill, custom soil blends, beach nourishment, and raw aggregate material.

Vern Gwin from the Corps National Dredging Quality Management (DQM) program addressed the group again about new updates to the DQM program, particularly monitoring efforts of pipeline dredges. The Corps has already begun monitoring its pipeline dredges and in 2017, will implement monitoring for private pipeline dredges. The Corps monitors private hopper dredges and has been working toward the move to monitoring pipeline dredges for a few years. Since last year, DQM released a new version of the monitoring program (V2.9), including improved security access and better viewer features. Gwin said the Corps has been working closely with the industry to implement the new monitoring program, which represents a compromise between the two. He detailed some examples of the applications of the dredge intensity model, which is compatible with prominent GIS applications. For updates, Gwin also said DQM will be considering the specs for non-nuclear density meters. The fairly new technology is becoming more widely used to measure pipeline slurries, over nuclear densometers, which use gamma radiation to measure sediment density. Other updates from DQM include cloud sources for the software program that meet Department of Defense security standards, and Gwin said the on-board software is ready and available to contractors for testing.

Attendees also heard updates from some of the Corps districts in the chapter – Rock Island, Omaha, St. Paul and St. Louis.

Next year, the WEDA Midwest Chapter wants to meet in Toledo or Cleveland, Ohio. “Both ports have been very active in the search for alternatives to open lake disposal of dredged material due to the impending ban on it in Lake Erie by Ohio EPA. We also have not met in those cities in quite some time, and they both have lots to offer to our members,” Gerbaciak said.

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