Department of Transportation

Dredged Material Management

Management of dredging activities in New Jersey is generally divided into three main geographic areas: New Jersey/New York Harbor, Delaware River/Delaware River Ports and State Navigation Channels. The New Jersey Department of Transportation's Office of Maritime Resources (NJDOT/OMR) is leading, funding or participating in a variety of material management and planning initiatives throughout the state.

Dredging projects have two main parts, dredging and the management of the material removed. Dredged material is mostly sediment that has settled into waterways through natural erosion processes. Sediment can be divided into several geologic types: sand and gravel, silt and clay and glacial till and rock.

Sometimes trash, debris and spilled chemicals can also become entrained in the sediments, making dredged material management challenging. Part of the challenge is simply informing the community of the nature of dredged material. Specifically that contamination is best thought about on a continuum with some dredged material being very clean and some being polluted by various wastes. The more contaminated the sediment is, the more limited the options for management and the more costly management becomes.

Dredged material, particularly from state navigation channels, is relatively uncontaminated. This material can often be beneficially used for beach replenishment, as fill, or mixed with leaf mulch or wood chips to create topsoil. Historically, material dredged from Port Districts generally contains higher levels of contamination due to historical point source and ongoing non-point source pollution. However, even in Port Districts deepening projects contain relatively large amounts of pre-industrial deposits of glacial till, clay or rock that is free of contamination. For more information on beneficial use, visit the Great Lakes Dredging Team's summary on beneficial use of dredged material "Waste to Resource: Beneficial Use of Great Lakes Dredged Material" (pdf 2.9m).

NJDOT/OMR was established partly in response to the dredged material management crisis of 1993 when dredging was halted in the Port of New Jersey and New York due to the closing of the ocean disposal site off Sandy Hook. In addition to port related dredging, the Office has become involved in dredging state navigation channel dredging, a project of great importance to New Jersey's recreational boating and marine trade community.

NJDOT/OMR continues to remain at the forefront of innovative dredged material management planning and technology, ensuring that dredging projects can proceed in the most cost effective, environmentally protective way possible.

NJDOT/OMR works statewide to reduce dredging needs, plan for public and private dredged material management, reduce contamination problems, and provide beneficial use alternatives.  A current summary of OMR's program and progress can be found in this power point presentation (ppt 47.5m).

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the PDF files which is available at our state Adobe Acrobat Access page.

Last updated date: August 7, 2019 10:38 AM