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Sediment Symposium Explored Beneficial Use Markets

The i2SM 2016 organizing committee, from left, Nor-Edine Abriak, Mahfoud Benzerzour, Zahia Adrouche, Patrice Rivard (symposium chairman) and Rachid Zentar.

The i2SM 2016 organizing committee, from left, Nor-Edine Abriak, Mahfoud Benzerzour, Zahia Adrouche, Patrice Rivard (symposium chairman) and Rachid Zentar.

A student with one of the displays in the poster session.

On July 10 to 13, environmental scientists and engineers gathered in Montreal for the Fifth International Symposium on Sediment Management - i2SM16 - held at the Marriott Chateau Champlain Hotel.  It was organized by the Université de Sherbrooke and the École des Mines de Douai.  Dr. Patrice Rivard, Ph.D., C.E. of Sherbrooke was chairman of the 2016 organizing committee. Nor-Edine Abriak, is chairman of the biennial i2SM series. Previous locations were   Lille, France, 2008; Casablanca, Mo-rocco, 2010; Alibaug, India, 2012 and Ferrera, Italy, 2014. 

Dr. Eric Stern, Principal of Environmental Adaptive Strategies, LLC, which focuses on integrated sediment management, gave the keynote address on July 11.  Entitled “Moving Beyond Myopic Sediment Management in the 21st Century” the talk asked “Is it really about sediments?”  

“We tend to conceptualize contaminated sediment management in terms of linear objectives, such as assessments of human health and ecological risk, remediation options and beneficial use if applicable. This line of thinking has led to localized scopes seeking single action solutions, having to address competing multiagency objectives, countless studies, litigation over costs and allocation of responsibility, protracted timelines and, consequently, few real successes,” said Stern.

A participant makes a comment during one of the presentations.

“As sediments are a fundamental part of the natural infrastructure upon which human systems depend, connecting sediment management to larger environmental issues more visible and accessible to decision makers and the public can help focus attention on the actions and reforms needed. This requires full consideration of the soil-sediment continuum,” he said. 

Dr. Stern is a specialist in contaminated sediment and dredged material assessment and management, as it applies to sustainable practices in watershed systems and regional sediment processing facilities. He is a research associate in the School of Science and Mathematics at Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey. 

The other keynote address was presented by Dr. Arezki Tagnit-Hamou, a professor in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Sherbrooke (Canada), and Fellow of the American Concrete Institute (FACI). He is the director of the Centre for Research on the Concrete Infrastructure of UdeS (CRIB-US) and the Laboratory of Cementitious Materials at UdeS.  His talk, “Valorization of locally available by-products in Concrete: A Sustainable Solution”, was a precursor to the many presentations examining methods and science of stabilizing contaminated material with cement and beneficial use of the final product.

“Valorization” means “to give or assign a value to, especially a higher value,” and is used as a synonym for “beneficial use” in Europe.

Conference chair Patrice Rivard has been involved in the conferences from the beginning, and was a natural choice for chair of the North American conference. He holds a bachelor in geological engineering from École Poly-technique de Montréal (Canada) and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Université de Sherbrooke (Canada) and INSA de Toulouse (France).  

There were about 90 attendees most of whom stayed through the end of the final presentation – a mark of a successful conference, he said. Attendees were academics and researchers, though all the U.S. attendees were consultants, said Dr. Rivard.  The expected attendance was higher, but many from Africa and Europe were unable to obtain funding for the trip.

Philip Spadaro praised the conference for its focus on beneficial use and re-use of sediments, and the aim of the attendees to develop markets for the material in infrastructure and construction.

They are North African and other nationalities that aren’t seen at other conferences – a benefit that makes the conference worth going to, he said.

Spadaro is managing director at The Intelligence Group’s Seattle office.

Dr. Rivard reported that the interesting presentations and keynote speakers, and even the fact that the conference was small were appreciated by the attendees.  There were 80 talks in two sessions, with time to network and meet new people, and appreciate Montreal in the summer, he said. 

The talks focused on the science and mechanics of treating and handling contaminated marine materials and mine sediments.  Stabilizing contaminants by adding cement, the processing, handling final use of the mate-rial was the topic of many talks.  Clean mate-rial was also addressed, including a talk by James White, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority on collection of clean sand upstream of the shipping channel and its use by a local ready mix company. 

The proceedings were distributed to attendees on flash drives.  

Anne Hansen of the Mexican Institute of Water Technology was appointed chair of the next i2SM, to be held in July 2018 in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. 

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