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Erie Pier CDF/Processing & Reuse Facility

Duluth, Minnesota

Reusing Dredged Material

To maintain adequate depth of shipping channels, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers annually removes sand and silt that naturally accumulate. Typically, the dredged material is stored on large tracts of land known as confined disposal facilities (CDFs). Locating and constructing a new CDF is difficult and expensive. So, in cooperation with local stakeholders, including the Twin Ports’ Metropolitan Interstate Council, a bi-state planning organization, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority is implementing an innovative management plan to reuse clean dredged materials and extend the life of “Erie Pier.” The 89 acre CDF on the Duluth side of the Duluth/Superior harbor has now been designated a Processing and Reuse Facility (PRF). Dredged materials are suitable for a variety of projects including road construction, habitat restoration, construction fill, landfill cover, turf reestablishment, and mine land reclamation.

A Cost-Effective Solution

To prepare and market dredged material for reuse, it must be tested to meet Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources standards, sorted to separate fine and coarse material, and drained to reduce moisture content. A processing facility has been constructed on the Erie Pier site to accomplish that goal. This plan benefits the community in a variety of ways by:

  • providing a cost-effective means of storing and reusing dredged materials to extend the facility’s operating life indefinitely;
  • minimizing the amount of land that must be committed to dredged material disposal;
  • creating a source of fill material without requiring mining or excavating of other sites;
  • returning sand and silt – much of which has eroded from upland sources – to productive use.