According to a report by Madeline Urbish, a Senior Public Policy Advisor, billions if not trillions of cubic yards of sediment are removed from U.S. waters every year, but where does all the sand, salt and silt go?
Currently, much of the sediment is stored in containers or dumped into open waters. In fact, as much as 50 percent of dredged Great Lake Sediment is dumped in the open lakes.
In Ohio, the Army Corps of Engineers dredges enough sediment to fill 220,000 dump trucks twice each year from the Cuyahoga River. The state is now funding a way to repurpose the sediment through pilot projects.
One of the most creative ways the sediment is being repurposed is through creating custom soil blends to use in construction and landscaping. They are able to characterize soil blends based on their chemical and physical makeup which allows scientists to create tailored products using the dredged material as the primary ingredient.
Other uses for dredged sediment is capping landfills or brownfields, transforming dredged material into lightweight aggregate, reclaiming lands damaged by sands, coal mining and gravel; manufacturing brick or block, producing manufactured topsoil, enhancing degraded farm land, and creating fill for construction projects.