Chesapeake Quarterly
Harbor Dredging Study
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Sediments dredged from Baltimore Harbor shipping channels may be suitable for a number of innovative uses, according to a new report. These uses range from construction materials to nonagricultural soil amendments.

The 110-page report, Sediment in Baltimore Harbor: Quality and Suitability for Innovative Reuse, results from a year-long effort by an independent technical review team. Its purpose is to provide the Port of Baltimore, citizen stakeholders, and other interested parties with an objective approach for handling and using sediments from the harbor.

The review team found that sediment dredged from some locations is of sufficient quality for a variety of innovative reuse options, such as fill for mines and for sand and gravel pits, and components in cement filler and lightweight aggregate materials. A limited number of locations meet Maryland criteria for residential reuse, which includes such uses as manufactured topsoil (not meant for cropland). Soil from a few sites is unsuitable for any reuse.

In its report, the team lays out a step-by-step protocol to help determine reuse options available for given dredging projects. This guidance recommends that before decisions are made regarding dredging and innovative reuse, any specific location be subject to case-by-case, site-by-site testing, risk assessment, and monitoring.

For additional information, including a downloadable copy of the entire report, as well as a four-page layperson's summary, visit the web at www.mdsg.umd.edu/dredging.

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December 2009
vol. 8, no. 4
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