Almost all ports with deep-draft navigation need to dredge sediments in order to maintain navigation. Many of our nation’s navigation channels are considered to be so critical to national interests that they are dredged with help from the US Army Corps of Engineers. Other areas, including berthing areas such as piers and marinas, are dredged solely by the port authority in question.

The dredging and disposal of sediment materials is one of the most closely regulated activities in environmental protection. Each dredging project is reviewed by federal, state and local authorities, and those reviews examine the need and justification for the project. Ports must thoroughly test any sediment that will be dredged, determining if any contamination in the sediment poses a threat to human health and the environment.

If sediment is clean, it can be disposed of at an approved open-water site or used for beach nourishment or habitat creation. If it’s not clean, then it must be placed in a confined disposal facility where it can be isolated from the environment.

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