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Beneficial Use of Dredged Material

John Poullain, P.E.

Course Outline

This two hour online course provides an overview for the planning, design and selection of dredged material as a manageable, beneficial resource as an alternative to normal methods of disposal. Land creation with dredged material often consists of filling, raising and protecting areas that are periodically submerged. The type of areas considered in this course are parks, agricultural, forest, solid waste landfill, industrial, commercial and residential use. Habitat development, which includes wetland, island and aquatic habitats, is not discussed here.

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 for civil and environmental engineers and planners.

Course Introduction

About 70% of dredged material in the US are placed in aquatic disposal areas, open water, such as river channels. This course discusses confined disposal areas where the dredged material is used as a resource that can provide beneficial uses rather than solely as a disposal necessity. Typical uses are parks, recreation, forests, solid waste landfill, industrial, commercial and residential use.

Course or fine-grained materials may be used for land creation. The types of dredged materials will determine the suitability of how the land can be used. For instance, fine-grained material requires a long time to drain and consolidate. Development of such land may be limited to recreation uses; parks or where the imposed loads are required to be low because of the resulting weak soil strengths. The time and availability of suitable dredged material often limit the type of land use. Sound and careful long term planning and design can overcome these constraints. Also it should be noted dredged material contaminants usually fall within acceptable limits. However, contaminated dredged material can be reused in several beneficial ways as fill material, for construction and environmental projects. And also as raw material for manufacturing building products such as building blocks, tiles and top soil.

Course Content

The purpose of this course is to provide an overview for planning, designing, developing and managing dredged material for beneficial uses. Ecological concepts and biological, economical and social feasibility concerns along with engineering designs are discussed.

You are required to study the following US Army Corps of Engineers Manual, Chapters 1- 3, 11- 13 and 15 of Beneficial Use of Dredged Material EM 1110-2-5026, 1987 Edition, 66 pages, PDF. Item references made in EM 1110-2-5026 are for bibliographic purposes only.

The links to for the chapters (in PDF format) required for this course are as follows:

Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Dredged Material as a Resource
Chapter 3. Logistical Considerations
Chapter 11. Parks and Recreation
Chapter 12. Agriculture, Horticulture and Forestry
Chapter 13. Strip Mine Reclamation
Chapter 15. Construction and Industrial/ Commercial Uses

You need to open or download the above documents to study this course.

Course Summary

Urban sprawl has reduced the availability of dredge disposal areas, which has increased the cost of dredging by increasing the distances to available disposal areas. Environmental restrictions have also increased costs of disposal. Dredged material can be a valuable commodity by placing in beneficial use areas while also increasing land available for many purposes including land developmental uses. Among the factors for the end user to consider are physical, engineering and chemical characteristics and the transport and handling of the material.

Related Links

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

ER 1105-2-40 Economic Considerations
The Beneficial Reuse of Dredged Material prepared for the Port of Long Beach, Long Beach, California, 2000, by Harding Lawson Associates


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.