Print this page Print this page

Confined Disposal of Dredged Material

John Poullain, P.E.

Course Outline

This two-hour online course provides guidance for the planning; designing and construction of confined dredged material disposal areas, including containment area effluent weirs. Initial storage capacity is considered.

While selection of dredging equipment is important for economical dredging, the selection and location of disposal areas is of equal or greater importance in determining viability of a project. Consideration should be given to the compatibility with future land development of the disposal area.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this two-hour course, the student will

Intended Audience

This course is intended primarily for civil engineers.

Course Introduction

Dredging basically has two functions, to obtain material or to excavate holes and greater water channel depths. Types of dredging consist of mechanical or hydraulic.

Mechanical dredging has existed for over 2000 years and hydraulic dredging (pipeline) has existed since 1850 - Suez Canal. By about 1900 all present dredge types were in existence. Another dredging method - agitation was performed with a paddle wheel powered by water or people in Holland. While most dredged material is placed in aquatic disposal areas, river channels, this course considers confined disposal areas only. In cases where an unacceptable level of contaminates and chemicals are encountered, unconfined aquatic disposal is not suitable. There have been many developmental uses throughout the US especially on the West Coast for new port terminals, harbors and waterways. All confined disposal areas serve to retain suspended solids during disposal operations while releasing the carrier water which will meet effluent solids standards and also to provide adequate storage volume for disposal needs.

Course Content

The purpose of this course is to present an overview of the required planning, design and estimations for the sizing of confined dredged material disposal areas. Containment area dikes generally follow criteria similar to flood protection levees. You are required to study the following US Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Manual:

Chapters 1 and 4 of Confined Disposal of Dredged Material Engineering Manual EM 1110-2-5027, 1987 edition, 29 pages, PDF file.

The contents of Chapters 1 and 4 are in PDF format:

Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 4. Containment Area Design for Retention of Solids and Initial Storage
Appendix C

You need to open or download this document to study this course.

Course Summary

Factors to consider for economical and productive dredge material disposal are:

a. Adequate storage capacity with the disposal facilities.
b. Disposal of contaminated sediments.
c. Determining the levels of suspended solids from disposal area effluent, i.e. the greatest efficiency in retaining solids while dredging in order to meet effluent requirements

Related Links

For additional technical information related to this subject, please refer to:

a. EM 1110-2-5025, Dredging and Dredge Material Disposal.
b. Huston, J. 1970 "Hydraulic Dredging" , Cornell, Cambridge, Mass
c. Appendix C of EM 1110-2-5027, Example Design Calculations for Retention of Solids and Initial Storage.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered professional engineer. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.