Rebuilding Industrial Commerce

Deepening an environmentally-impacted canal to its original depth.

Inside the Project

The 5-year project involves dredging and disposal of 2,000,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the Indiana Harbor and Canal (IHC). Dredging of the IHC had been deferred since 1972 while a technically and economically feasible and environmentally acceptable plan was developed. A Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) was built to contain all sediments. Our crews dredge within the confines of the canal in areas designated by the owner using a 15 CY Cable Arm bucket. The sediments are transported by sealed hopper barges to the CDF where crew and equipment offload and pump the material in a slurry into the CDF. The slurry water is recirculated to transport more sediments to the CDF. Each yard of material is screened through a debris separation barge before it is hydraulically transported to the CDF. All debris larger than 2” is separated and accumulated inside the debris separation barge. The debris is transferred into the CDF mechanically with excavating equipment. All work is monitored and controlled by software and high tech equipment specifically designed for the work.

Why it matters

Dredging the IHC serves 2 major purposes. Firstly, deepening the waterway will enhance navigation and be beneficial to the delivery of bulk materials to and from businesses along the canal and inside the harbor. In some places over 15 ft of sediment has accumulated and is blocking shipments meant for delivery inside the IHC. Secondly, the sediments are contaminated and are being removed from a tributary of Lake Michigan. Some of these materials are TSCA level contaminants, which are defined as “materials that pose unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment”.

The Contractor’s management team has been very professional and cooperative throughout the performance of the work, and has continuously worked towards the spirit of partnering. The Contractor put forth significant effort to comply with contract requirements and manage the project accordingly. The Contractor did a good job communicating with the USACE during the work.

Douglas Anderson, Area EngineerUSACE – Chicago District