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Toronto WEDA Meeting Explores Important Technical Subjects

Presenters at the Texas A&M pre-conference short course were, from left, Greg Sraders, Don Hayes and Bob Randall.

Presenters at the Texas A&M pre-conference short course were, from left, Greg Sraders, Don Hayes and Bob Randall.

By Judith Powers


Sally Fisher, left, of BergerABAM, and Vladimir Shepsis of Coast and Harbor Engineering received the environmental navigation excellence for the Port of Kalama project on the Columbia River.

More than 260 people attended the Western Dredging Association’s (WEDA) Dredging Summit & Expo 2014, held Sunday through Wednesday, from June 15 to 18, at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Ontario.

Papers were presented on topics of great concern to the general public, with the oil sands project in Alberta at the top of the list. Robert Wetta, president of DSC Dredges, gave a history of the project, and the presentation Future Land Use and Sustainable Remediation at the Sydney Tar Pond from Bruce Noble and David Wilson, both of AECOM, added valuable information to that discussion. Talks on local remediation projects throughout Canada and the U.S., along with talks on a gamut of other topics further added to the importance of the program. All papers are available in the conference proceedings, which are in on a DVD given to attendees and available from the WEDA executive office.

“The papers do make the conference,” Robert Ramsdell, chair of the technical paper committee, said.


Tom Wang presents the Anchor QEA Young Author award to Aaron Horine.

Robert Wetta was honored as 2014 Dredger of the Year, and Larry Patella was given the Lifetime Achievement Award. Nancy Patella was given a special appreciation award for her 22 years in administration for WEDA.

New this year was a continuing education short course held on Sunday, June 15, which was attended by 19 people, who earned four PDHs (professional development hours) for the course. Entitled Responsible Design of Dredging Projects, the half-day course was taught by Dr. Robert Randall, Bauer Professor of Dredging Engineering at Texas A&M University; Dr. Donald Hayes, chair of the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas; and Greg Straders, geotechnical manager at Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company.


Honeywell CEO Bill Hayne with the safety award plaque for the Onondaga Lake Remediation Project.

The WEDA Board of Directors is planning a similar short course for next year’s meeting.

WEDA President Ram Mohan opened the event on Monday morning with an overview of the organization and its seven chapters, which has approximately 1,000 members and a network of more than 4,000 industry professionals.

He announced the transition of Larry Patella out of his role as executive director.“It’s sad to see this transition. Larry has steered the ship quite marvelously,” Mohan said. He introduced Eileen Maher, the new executive director, who has been active in the Pacific Chapter in past decades, but is a new face to many in the national organization.

Maher told IDR after the meeting that she was amazed how dedicated the board of directors is to WEDA.


Members of the China Dredging Association (CHIDA) attended the conference. At the board of directors dinner, from left, Larry Patella, Yuan Qian, manager of the CHIDA International Department; Gao Jingli, deputy secretary general of CHIDA, Nancy Patella, and Tan Yongsheng, secretary general of CHIDA.

“They have their heart in the right place and want to see (WEDA) succeed,” she said. “They are all putting in a lot of time to make it work, and are dedicated to making it a good organization.”

Mohan announced that 2015 WEDA meeting will be held in Houston, Texas, to make it easy for members in Central and South America to attend. That meeting is scheduled for June 22 through 25, 2015, at the Westin Galleria in Houston. WEDA will be the host of the next World Dredging Conference (WODCON), which will be held in 2016 in Miami. “I’m going to need your help planning it,” Mohan said.

Introducing the keynote speaker Roger Santiago, Mohan said “Canada has 265,000 kilometers (164,671 miles) of coastline and 34 major ports and harbors, where 10 to 12 million tons of maintenance material is removed annually.”


Norm Grant in his Normrock booth, which won the Most Eye Appealing award.

Roger Santiago, head of Sediment Remediation at Environment Canada, described recent remediation projects Environment Canada has undertaken. There are 600 contaminated aquatic sites under assessment.

Santiago described the Hamilton Harbor Randle Reef sediment project, which was the site of the post-conference tour sponsored by Environment Canada. Randle Reef is the last of a series of remediation projects that have re-created Hamilton Harbor as a joint recreation-wildlife habitat-industrial zone.

The technical sessions got underway on Monday with the one-day Texas A&M Dredging Seminar, which has been held in conjunction with the WEDA meeting since 1983, followed by the WEDA technical sessions all day Tuesday and on Wednesday morning.


Marsha Cohen, left, editor of Terra et Aqua, and Corinne van Drimmelen, who runs the New Jersey office of Dredge Technology Corporation.

Session topics for the A&M seminar were Modeling and Analysis; Trailing Suction and Deep Depth Dredges; Lubricants and Fuels; Remediation of Contaminated Sediments; History and Practice of Dredging; and Dredging Case Studies. Topics for the WEDA technical sessions were Environmental Remediation Dredging Case Studies; WEDA Safety Commission Panel; Dredging and Disposal 1 and 2; the WEDA Environmental Commission panel; Dredged Material Management 1 and 2; Dredge Monitoring; and Environmental Remediation 1, 2 and 3.

Craig Vogt organized the environmental commission panel on the Directions of Canada’s Disposal at Sea Assessment Framework. Five scientists from Environment Canada presented papers on the details of the program.


Darrell Nicholas of the Ryba Terra Joint Venture, with Bob Randall.

Tom Verna’s safety commission panel included four talks on Safety Journeys, followed by a discussion facilitated by Julie Hile of the Hile Group.

Conference attendees earned 20 PDHs.

The exhibit hall opened at 6 a.m. daily, with a continental breakfast available. Forty companies and organizations exhibited. Booth awards this year went to Normrock for Most Eye Appealing and Higgs Hydrographic Tek for Most Educational, and both won free exhibit space at the 2015 conference.


Larry Patella, left, and Ram Mohan present an appreciation plaque to Ray Bergeron for his service on the board of directors.

Posters describing the contenders for the environmental awards were displayed in the registration area, and winners for the environmental and safety awards were announced at the gala dinner on Tuesday evening, along with the Dredger of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Terra Contracting received the Safety Award for its Loss Prevention System (LPS), specifically as applied to the Ceresco Dam removal project on the Kalamazoo River, Michigan, for pipeline company Enbridge, Inc., whose pipe rupture three years ago caused a major oil spill in the river. Developed by Steve Taplin and his managers, the LPS is a behavior-based model designed to modify human behavior with the objective of ensuring no one gets hurt. All accidents and near accidents are reported and communicated to all personnel in ongoing LPS training.


Posters describing environmental projects up for awards were displayed in the registration area.

In accepting the award, Taplin said that the prime dredging sub-contractor on the project, Ryba Marine, equally deserves the award.

The second safety award went to Honeywell for its Lake Onondaga, New York remediation project. In accepting the award, Bill Hayne, CEO of Honeywell, said that Honeywell’s seven or eight divisions all have the same safety culture, and that the other players in the Onondaga project – prime contractor Parsons, and de Maximis, Sevenson, O’Brien & Gear, Anchor QEA and Infrastructure Alternatives share in the safety program. All companies involved in Lake Onondaga are headquartered in the same purpose-built complex on-site, with a visitor center for the general public to view the remediation project.


Steve Taplin of Terra, Zach Morrish of Ryba and Alan DuPont of CH2M Hill, principals in the winning Sheboygan remediation project, at the Tuesday dinner.

The environmental excellence award for navigation dredging went to the 2013 TEMCO Berth Maintenance Dredging and In-Water Flow-Lane Placement Project at the Port of Kalama, Washington, sponsored by the Port of Kalama and carried out by Coast & Harbor Engineering and BergerABAM. Vladimir Shepsis of Coast & Harbor was coastal manager and project manager for dredging and disposal. Sally Fisher of BergerABAM was project manager for permitting. Both were on hand to accept the award.

The environmental excellence award for environmental remediation went to the Ryba-Terra JV for Environmental Dredging of Sheboygan River, Wisconsin, a Great Lakes Legacy Act project awarded by the U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program office, to de-list the river as an EPA Area of Concern (AOC), which was accomplished as of June 2013. Other partners were CH2M Hill, the Environmental Quality Company, Global Environmental Engineering and TechLaw, Inc.


On the tour boat at the Randle Reef remediation site are, from left, Basel Yousef of Dredge Yard, Jan Willem de Wit of Holland MT, and Ejiro Akudihor of SouthDredge Limited, Nigeria.

The silver award for an environmental project for navigation was given to the Antioch Dunes Restoration project, in conjunction with the Stockton, California, deepwater ship channel, where 40,000 cubic yards of dredged sand was placed at the restoration site. The project team consisted of the project owner U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the USACE Sacramento District and the Port of Stockton.

A silver award for an environmental remediation project went to the Hudson River PCBs Superfund Site, presented to Ecology and Environment, Inc. along with the USACE Kansas City District, the Louis Berger Group and the U.S. EPA Region 2. Project owner is General Electric Company, and participating companies are Parsons Corporation, Cashman Dredging, Chicago Bridge & Iron Company, Arcadis and Anchor QEA, LLC.

Best paper awards were presented at the closing ceremony, presided over by Robert Ramsdell, head of the technical paper committee.

The DSC Dredges-sponsored “Why is Dredging Good” award went to Georganna Collins for Harvesting Dredged Material from USACE Confined Disposal Facilities as Part of Regional Sediment Management Strategy. Collins is with Ecology and Environment, Inc., and her colleague Kaitlin McCormick accepted the award in her place.

The Dredging Contractors of America (DCA)-sponsored award went to Bruce Nobe and David Wilson of AECOM for Future Land Use and Sustainable Remediation at the Sydney Tar Ponds: A Case Study and Lessons Learned on Adaptive Remedial Design. Co-authors were Donnie Burke of the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency and Dan MacDonald of CBCL Limited.

The Anchor QEA Young Author award went to Aaron Horine of Coast & Harbor Engineering, Inc. for Coastal Engineering Aspects of Arctic Dredging Realized for the Oil Industry: TOF Sealift Operation at Chayvo Beach, Sakhalin, Russia, which he co-authored with Vladimir Shepsis. Horine is a graduate of Texas A&M and former student of Dr. Randall.

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