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Reuse of dredged materials shows promise

Posted on behalf of Karen Delly <DELLY.KAREN@epamail.epa.gov>


                                              Mary Mears, EPA 212-637-3669
                                              Kara Villamil, BNL
                                              Peter Shugert, Corps

FOR RELEASE: Monday, February 22, 1999

(#99026) New York, New York -- The day may soon come when
contaminated sediment dredged from the New York/New Jersey Harbor
can be cleaned and turned into a useful product, according  to the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Last fall, EPA and the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, working through the Department of Energy's
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), awarded three contracts to
demonstrate technologies designed to treat sediments dredged from the
bottom of the Harbor. Underscoring the promise of these decontamination
techniques, today EPA Deputy Administrator, Peter Robertson, hosted a
demonstration in Kearny, New Jersey of one treatment technology,
which will turn dredged material into rich topsoil.

"These technologies could turn a liability into a benefit by turning
contaminated sediment into a marketable product," said Peter Robertson,
EPA Deputy Administrator. "These technologies make both environmental
and economic sense, and provide proof that a clean environment and
strong economy are not mutually exclusive."

Col. William H. Pearce, New York District Engineer for the Army Corps of
Engineers, said, "We hope that these technologies could serve as a
critical component in the overall management strategy for the Port.  If
proven to be technically and economically feasible, their application to
sediments from existing severely impacted areas of the harbor, such as
the lower reach of the Passaic River, could provide multiple and
long-lasting benefits to the region.  By removing upstream sources for
dredged material contamination, they could help restore severely
impacted areas of the estuary as well as help ensure the long-term
competitiveness of the Port.  Toward that end, we are committed to
working with the EPA in the further development and evaluation of these
technologies, including identifying areas for their potential full-scale

In October 1998, EPA and Department of Energy's Brookhaven National
Laboratory awarded three contracts, funded through the federal Water
Resources Development Act, to support these promising
decontamination technologies.  The contracts, worth more than $2 million,
were awarded to The Institute of Gas Technology of Des Plaines, Illinois;
BioGenesis Enterprises of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Westinghouse
Science & Technology Center of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The goal
of these contracts is to evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of
building and operating large-scale treatment facilities for dredged material
at the port.  The three techniques being tested are designed to destroy,
remove or immobilize organic and metal contaminants, leaving clean
material that can be used for everything from cement and glass tile to
garden topsoil.

To date, nearly $13.5 million has been spent under WRDA to conduct 12
bench-scale studies, five pilot-scale runs, and, most recently three more
demonstrations, two full-scale tests and one manufacturing test run.
The technology we are demonstrating today, developed by BioGensis, is
being supported with a $1 million contract awarded last fall.  WRDA
money has been used to support US Corps of Engineers and Waterways
Experimentation Station (WES) activities, engineering designs, public
outreach programs, analytical chemistry, conceptual treatment designs,
and other ancillary studies.

On average, the Corps' New York District, Port Authority of New York
and New Jersey and private companies dredge four million cubic yards
of sediment each year from the Port of New York-New Jersey to
maintain channels and berths needed for ship traffic.  Much of the
dredged material cannot be used as remediation material at the Historic
Area Remediation Site (HARS) because it contains elevated levels of
metals and organic contaminants.  EPA, the Corps and the states are
currently evaluating the various disposal and management options,
including sediment treatment.

EPA, BNL and the Corps have been exploring the extent of sediment
contamination in the New York/New Jersey Harbor and have been
overseeing the development and testing of new options for cleaning this
sediment.  Sediment cleaning options must be environmentally safe and
cost-effective, and must work for the many different types of dredged
material found in the harbor. In particular, decontamination processes
would be especially applicable to areas of the harbor where contaminant
levels are high.  The technology demonstrations are expected to be
completed in 1999.  The high-value products created by the treatment
strategies will help defray the costs and result in the beneficial use of
the material.

Technology Summaries


          BioGenesis has joined Roy F. Weston, Inc. to implement a
sediment-washing technique.  The approach uses a high-pressure
water jet and proprietary chemical additives to extract both organic and
inorganic contaminants from the sediments.  The cleaned material is used
as the basis for a fertile manufactured soil with several different
applications.  An initial demonstration treating 10,000 cubic yards of
material will be carried out under the new contract, worth about $1
million.  This technology is currently being tested in Kearny, New Jersey.
BioGenesis anticipates scaling up to 250,000 cubic yards per operation
by early 2000.


            IGT will use a natural gas-fired thermochemical manufacturing
process operating at high temperatures to destroy organic contaminants
and transform the sediment into construction-grade cement.  Metals are
immobilized within the matrix of the product, when it is mixed with
Portland cement.  The blended cement can be used for general
construction projects.  Under the $1 million contract, an operational
treatment facility capable of treating 10,000 cubic yards per year will be
constructed, with plans to move to a 100,000 cubic yard per year
capacity in about 18 months.  IGT will begin treating dredged sediment
this summer at a yet undetermined site in New Jersey.


             Westinghouse will use a high-temperature vitrification process
destroy organic contaminants and incorporate the metals into a glassy
matrix.  The resulting glass can be used for the production of glass tiles.
Under the $220,000 contract, Westinghouse will carry out studies to
assess the economic feasibility of using the glassy material in the
production of glass tiles.  Westinghouse conducted their tile
manufacturing test in Milwaukee earlier this month.  They successfully
produced high gloss colored tiles.  Westinghouse is looking into
developing a commercial-scale venture with a tile manufacturer.

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