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Page Title: Retention of Environmentally Acceptable Beneficial Use Alternatives
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Framework for Dredged Material Management
May 2004
confined placement as an integral part of the application or an initial step in developing
the application. Therefore, the testing and assessment procedures as well as compliance
with the overall 404 Guidelines themselves, must also be considered for beneficial uses
(see Chapters 4 and 5).
There is considerable interest in removing dredged material from confined
placement and using the material as a resource for construction material or topsoil to
restore capacity of existing CDFs. Many dredged materials currently contained in CDFs
will support desirable vegetation with little input other than fertilizer. Efforts to alter
undesirable dredged material characteristics by adding organic materials such as yard
litter (leaves, grass and tree trimmings) animal manures or other biosolids can provide
characteristics necessary to produce soil material for containerized plants, bedding plants
and turf grass. With local support to provide materials that are normally considered
waste (yard litter and biosolids), valuable soil materials can be produced for use in local
projects such as brownfield redevelopment, road construction, parks and recreation fields.
Since the purpose of most CDFs is to contain contaminated materials, the issue of reuse
poses some question as to the suitability of the material for beneficial uses outside the
CDF and there is currently no clear guidance specifically addressing suitability of
dredged material for beneficial uses. Some states have set standards for contaminants in
industrial waste materials and have included dredged material in that category. Other
criteria may be applicable, such as Ecological Soil Screening Levels or USEPA 503
Regulations for the application of biosolids, but the criteria for suitability will be
determined by the State or local authority where the dredged material will be used. The
Great Lakes Upland Testing and Evaluation for Beneficial Use project is an interagency
effort to compile existing guidance, criteria, testing recommendations and case studies to
facilitate consensus building in the regulatory and scientific communities for beneficial
use of dredged material. A briefing paper that also includes an extensive annotated
bibliography with references relevant to beneficial use of dredged material has been
published by the working group (Great Lakes Commission 2004).
For ongoing activities, periodic reevaluations are advisable to ensure that the
conditions regarding sediment contaminants have not changed since the last dredging
cycle. For new applications and particularly for habitat development applications, it will,
at times, be advisable (depending on the nature and source of the dredged material) to
conduct limited plant and/or animal bioassays to ensure that the material will not be
harmful to the target species. Examples of such situations may be when highly saline
material is to be used in a brackish or freshwater habitat development project, or if the
material is to be used for upland habitat development or portions of the site will be
emergent. In some cases, chloride and/or heavy metal toxicity may or may not be
problematic but should be sufficiently evaluated for this potential.
6.6 Retention of Environmentally Acceptable Beneficial Use Alternatives
Once appropriate assessments are complete, a determination of environmental
acceptability can be made. This determination must ensure that all applicable standards or
criteria are met. If control measures were considered, a determination of the effectiveness

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