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AUTHORITY: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) was authorized to conduct the Delaware River, PA, NJ and DE Dredged Material Utilization Study (Utilization Study) reconnaissance phase and any ensuing feasibility phase investigations by a resolution of the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the United States Senate on October 26, 2005.  The resolution directs the USACE to conduct an investigation of beneficial uses of dredged material within the Delaware River and Estuary area.

DESCRIPTION: Approximately 3,000,000 cubic yards of sediment are dredged annually from the ‘Delaware River, Philadelphia to the Sea’ and ‘Delaware River, Philadelphia to Trenton’ projects.  Essentially all of the sediment is removed from the estuary system and placed in upland Confined Disposal Facilities.  This study will explore innovative methods for management and reuse of dredged material in order to improve flood risk management. A Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreement (FCSA) was signed with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection on 27 February of 2014.  

STATUS: In response to the study resolution above, the USACE Philadelphia District conducted the Delaware River New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania Dredged Material Utilization and Beneficial Use Opportunities expedited reconnaissance study.  The purpose of this study was to examine beneficial use opportunities using maintenance dredged material from the Delaware River and its tributaries for environmental restoration, protection and related purposes. 

The findings of the expedited reconnaissance study indicated that there is Federal interest in further investigations of multiple-purpose beneficial sediment reuse opportunities through a feasibility study within New Jersey.  The purpose of this feasibility study is to fully evaluate all reasonable solutions to the water resources problems and investigate potential opportunities identified during the reconnaissance within New Jersey.  Based on the preliminary screening of alternatives in the reconnaissance, there appear to be multiple potential projects within New Jersey that would be consistent with Army policies regarding costs, benefits, and environmental impacts  

Applying the principles of SMART Planning, the DMU feasibility study will work progressively through the six-step planning process, with five key decision points or milestones within the three year study period:
  • Alternatives Milestone
  • Tentatively Selected Plan Milestone
  • Agency Decision Milestone
  • Final Report Milestone
  • Chief’s Report Milestone
These milestones will provide an opportunity for the District Project Development Team to coordinate directly with the Corps Vertical Team for guidance and agreement on the path forward.    Funds were received from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, Public Law 113-2, enacted to assist in the recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

PROJECT OPPORTUNITIES: The beneficial use opportunities are best facilitated utilizing maintenance dredged material from Federal and non-Federal navigation projects including: the Delaware River, Philadelphia to the Sea NJ, PA & DE project; the Delaware River, Philadelphia to Trenton, NJ & PA project; and the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening, NJ, PA & DE project; and several active Federal navigation projects at major tributaries of the Delaware River.  This dredged material will be considered for projects that will reduce flood damage from coastal storms,  promote coastal resilience and sustainability and create opportunities for restoration of the estuaries functions.

SPONSOR: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection 

PROJECT MANAGER: Scott Sanderson