Beneficial Use of Dredged Material from the Illinois Marine Transportation System

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) annually dredge 300 million cubic yards nationwide to maintain channels’ navigation. The USACE is authorized to use dredged materials for environmentally beneficial purposes. Beneficial use is defined as “the use of dredged materials, by placing them where they can maximize the most-good, rather than wasting them by disposal”. Beneficial use calls for putting materials where they are most needed with optimized economic benefit and environmental restoration, and therefore, is strongly related to developing plans to implement practices at the state level, addressing collaborative process and engaging the local community.

Therefore, the proposed project will research and investigate the beneficial use of dredged materials in the State of Illinois. The proposed research will identify economic and environmentally-friendly beneficial use of dredged material in Illinois by synthesizing the relevant information from a thorough literature review and providing a robust characterization of dredged material based on location. The robust characterization would allow consideration of the full spectrum of possible matching of sources, markets, and missions as well as competing forces between economic growth and environmental restoration, allowing the identification of optimal candidate uses while defining collaborative strategies.

The project objective includes:

  • Identify useful references based on their relevance to feasible beneficial uses, collaborative strategies, and/or sediment management plans and strategies
  • Dredged material characterization by location for finding suitable alternatives of beneficial uses
  • Network optimization in matching the sources, markets, and missions aligned with federal and state guidelines in Illinois
  • Multi-criteria and multi-objective optimization for recommending alternatives based on the report’s findings, and conclusions

Client(s) name(s):

US Army Corps of Engineers, Aviation & Marine Transportation Program Planning, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Ready Mixed Concrete Association.

Project Mentor

Dr. Pranshoo Solanki
Dr. Clay Robinson
Dr. Guang Jin

Final deliverable format:

Research white paper, project findings and analysis summary, prototype or specifications, recommended action plan with a business case, survey or data collection results with corresponding insights):