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Wednesday, July 24, 2024


Extract Sand, Add Glass: A Solution To Dredge Spoils?

By Al Campbell

West of Ocean Drive in Middle Township between Stone Harbor and Grassy Sound, it could hold the answer to the future of dredging along the New Jersey coast.
With a $45,000 grant from the state Department of Transportation, Stone Harbor, the county Municipal Utilities Authority, and Ocean and Coastal Consultants Inc. of Gibbsboro will join to test a beneficial use for the material – mostly sand – for roads and other construction projects.
The dredge site dilemma isn’t just Stone Harbor’s.
Coastal towns around the state are in similar straits. Maintenance dredging is needed for safe boating, and space to dump dredge materials is nearly extinct.
That’s why the state, in conjunction with municipalities, hopes to dredge up a good use to those mundane materials.
After removing trace contaminants from Site 103, a task to be done by Brice Environmental, an Alaskan extracting firm whose New Jersey connection was clearing lead from a Ft. Dix small arms firing range, the material will be mixed with ground glass (that’s where the MUA joins the mix) and used as a road subsurface.
Earlier this year, borough officials hired Douglass Gaffney of Ocean and Coastal Consultants with the initial $50,000 ($5,000 from the borough, $45,000 from DOT’s I BOAT program, funded by marine fuel taxes).
Gaffney’s job: “To come up with a proposal. Now, they’re going for more to do the actual test,” said Administrator Kenneth Hawk.
Hawk said, and Gaffney concurred, the real test will come when Fairbanks-based Brice goes directly to Site 103 with extraction equipment.
There, it will separate sand (to be mixed with MUA recycled ground glass), from fine, silty clay-like material found in spoils.
The MUA will initially provide 200 cubic yards of crushed glass for the test phase of the project. 
“They (the borough) have the site and the dredge spoils, and we are prepared to put in 10 percent of the matching grant,” said George Marinakis to MUA commissioners Dec. 9.
Councilman Barry Mastrangelo was present.
Marinakis added, the experiment was “an intriguing concept if it works out.”
“We’ve got a lot of glass,” said MUA Chairman George Betts.
So much glass, so little use for it, since the market has been dismal.
But that’s all in the future, according to Gaffney.
At present, the firm is in the design phase, having inspected Site 103, which he termed a ” contained disposal facility” or CDF.
Trace elements, are “found everywhere you look, from polar bears to dredge spoils,” said Gaffney. It comes from road and yard run off, and settles in the silt.
“We are looking at taking a mobile technology (Brice’s) and bring it to the site,” Gaffney said.
Asked for an approximate idea of 200 cubic yards, Gaffney said small dump trucks may hold eight cubic yards, while some trash trucks hold 16 cubic yards.
“That’s where the (Site 103) problem starts to be evident,” said Gaffney.
“Nummy Island has about 100,000 cubic yards,” he added.
“We are talking a huge amount of material. If we can beneficially use it, that’s one less quarry that has to be mined. It makes sense from a sustainability perspective,” Gaffney said.
It also frees up limited CDF space for additional dredging without concern of ruining additional wetlands.
“Because of the fact that most (dredging sites) are all in wetlands, they are surrounded by water, which makes getting to them very difficult,” he added.
“There is not much interest on the part of the DEP to allow temporary roads to those sites,’ Gaffney added.
That’s why the state is looking at other options.
The next step awaits a funding nod.
Gaffney said the filing deadline for Phase 2 funding from the IBOAT program is Jan. 25.
That’s when a new “acceptance process in Trenton” begins, he said.
“The answer could be, ‘no,’ or ‘yes, start right away,'” he added.
If given thumbs up, Gaffney would “hope to be there by the end of next summer.”
“It’s really a long way from happening,” said Gaffney.
Permits, secured from DEP, are but one example of what awaits the project.
Thinking in a positive mode, Gaffney continues to “figure logistics, move clean sand to a staging area.
“There’s quite a bit left to do. But people are so willing to participate because of the magnitude and importance of solving the problem,” Gaffney concluded.
Contact Campbell at:

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