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Remediation Guidance Document

US Environmental Protection Agency. 1994. ARCS Remediation Guidance Document. EPA 905-B94-003. Chicago, Ill.: Great Lakes National Program Office.


Contaminated sediments are present in many of the waterways in the Great Lakes basin and contribute to the impairment of the beneficial uses of these waterways and the lakes. This document presents guidance on the planning, design, and implementation of actions to remediate contaminated bottom sediments, and is intended to be used in conjunction with other technical reports prepared by the ARCS Program. This guidance was developed for application in Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) at Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOCs), but is generally applicable to contaminated sediments in other areas as well.

Sediment remediation may involve one or more component technologies. In situ remedial alternatives are somewhat limited, and generally involve a single technology such as capping. Ex situ remedial alternatives typically require a number of component technologies to remove, transport, pretreat, treat, and/or dispose sediments and treatment residues. Some technologies, such as dredging and confined disposal, have been widely used with sediments. Most pretreatment and treatment technologies were developed for use with other media (i.e., sludges, soils, etc.) and have only been demonstrated with contaminated sediments at bench- or pilot-scale applications.

The feasibility of applying treatment technologies to contaminated sediments is influenced by the chemical and physical properties of the material. Bottom sediments commonly contain a variety of contaminants at concentrations far below those at which treatment technologies are most efficient. The physical properties of contaminated sediments, in particular their particle size and solids/water composition, may necessitate the application of one or more pretreatment technologies prior to the processing of the sediment through a treatment unit.

The evaluation of sediment remedial alternatives should consider their technical feasibility, contaminant losses and overall environmental impacts, and total project costs. This document provides brief descriptions of available technologies, examines factors for selecting technologies, discusses available methods to estimate contaminant losses during remediation, and provides information about project costs. The level of detail in the guidance provided here reflects the state of development and use of the various technologies.

This report should be cited as follows:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1994. "ARCS Remediation Guidance Document." EPA 905-B94-003. Great Lakes National Program Office, Chicago, IL.



List of Figures

Figure 2-1. Corps/USEPA framework for evaluating dredged material disposal alternatives
Figure 2-2. Superfund framework for evaluating contaminated sediments
Figure 2-3. Approaches for evaluating potential remedial alternatives
Figure 2-4. Decision-making framework for evaluating remedial alternatives
Figure 2-5. Example of a complex sediment remedial alternative
Figure 2-6. Potential contaminant loss pathways from a confined disposal facility
Figure 3-1. Cross section of in situ cap used in Sheboygan River
Figure 3-2. System for injecting chemicals into sediments
Figure 3-3. In situ treatment application using a sheetpile caisson
Figure 4-1. General types of commonly used dredges
Figure 4-2. Specialized mechanical dredge buckets
Figure 4-3. Typical design of a center-tension silt curtain section
Figure 4-4. Typical configuration of silt curtains and screens
Figure 5-1. Examples of chutes used for transporting dredged material
Figure 5-2. Example sediment remedial alternative using various transport technologies
Figure 5-3. Unit costs for pipeline transport of selected dredged material volumes
Figure 5-4. Unit costs for tank barge transport of selected dredged material volumes
Figure 5-5. Unit costs for rehandling and hopper railcar transport of selected dredged material volumes
Figure 5-6. Unit costs for rehandling and truck trailer transport of selected dredged material volumes
Figure 5-7. Unit costs for rehandling and belt conveyor transport of selected dredged material volumes
Figure 6-1. Example multiunit pretreatment system
Figure 6-2. Distribution of selected contaminants in Saginaw River sediments
Figure 7-1. Diagram of an incineration process
Figure 7-2. Diagram of a thermal desorption process
Figure 7-3. Diagram of an immobilization process
Figure 7-4. Diagram of an extraction process
Figure 7-5. Biodegradation potential for classes of organic compounds
Figure 7-6. Diagram of an aerobic bioslurry process
Figure 7-7. Diagram of a contained land treatment system
Figure 8-1. Placement methods for unrestricted, open-water disposal
Figure 8-2. Examples of level-bottom capping and contained aquatic disposal
Figure 8-3. Control systems for selected landfills
Figure 8-4. Framework for testing and evaluation for open-water disposal
Figure 8-5. Framework for testing and evaluation for confined disposal
Figure 8-6. Surface area and dike height required for hypothetical 100,000 yd[3] (76,000 m[3])-capacity confined disposal facility for mechanically dredged sediments
Figure 8-7. Surface area and dike height required for hypothetical 100,000 yd[3] (76,000 m[3])-capacity confined disposal facility for hydraulically dredged sediments
Figure 8-8. Capital costs for a hypothetical confined disposal facility assuming hydraulic dredging and disposal
Figure 8-9. Construction contract costs (January 1993) for Great Lakes confined disposal facilities
Figure 9-1. Confined disposal facility with cross dike
Figure 9-2. Cross section of a confined disposal facility dike with a filter layer
Figure 9-3. Cross section of an in-dike filter cell
Figure 10-1. Hypothetical sediment remediation facility

List of Tables

Table 2-1. Technology types for sediment remediation
Table 2-2. Recommended analytical methods for measuring physical and engineering properties of sediments
Table 2-3. General information requirements and sources for evaluation of sediment remedial alternatives
Table 2-4. Contingency rates for cost estimates
Table 2-5. Sources of information for cost data
Table 2-6. Potentially applicable Federal environmental laws and regulations
Table 3-1. Specialized equipment for in situ capping
Table 3-2. Selection factors for nonremoval technologies
Table 3-3. Design considerations for in situ capping
Table 3-4. Costs for in situ technologies [part i] [part ii]
Table 3-5. Mechanisms of contaminant loss for nonremoval technologies
Table 4-1. Cutterhead dredges
Table 4-2. Suction dredges
Table 4-3. Hybrid dredges
Table 4-4. Pump characteristics [part i] [part ii] [part iii]
Table 4-5. Portable hydraulic dredges
Table 4-6. Operational characteristics of various dredges
Table 4-7. Inventory of dredging equipment stationed in the Great Lakes
Table 4-8. Availability of dredges for sediment remediation
Table 4-9. Typical unit costs for maintenance dredging
Table 4-10. Typical unit costs for containment barriers
Table 4-11. Factors that affect contaminant losses
Table 4-12. Suspended solids concentrations produced by various dredges
Table 5-1. Barge types
Table 5-2. Railcar types
Table 5-3. Truck trailer types
Table 5-4. Conveyor types
Table 5-5. Comparative analysis of transport modes
Table 6-1. Example feed material
Table 6-2. Mechanical dewatering technologies [part i] [part ii] [part iii]
Table 6-3. Physical separation technologies [part i] [part ii] [part iii]
Table 6-4. Advantages and disadvantages of passive and mechanical dewatering
Table 6-5. Selection factors for mechanical dewatering technologies
Table 6-6. Operation and performance specifications for selected physical separation technologies
Table 6-7. Sediment characterization for pretreatment evaluation
Table 6-8. Concentration criteria for gravity separation
Table 6-9. Unit costs for belt filter press dewatering
Table 6-10. Capital costs for mechanical dewatering
Table 6-11. Example operation and maintenance costs from municipal wastewater treatment plants for the solid bowl centrifuge
Table 6-12. Example calculated cost estimates for dewatering dredged material with a solid bowl centrifuge
Table 6-13. Requirements for filter presses
Table 6-14. Example cost estimates for separation of particle sizes for dredged material
Table 7-1. Summary of conventional incineration technologies
Table 7-2. Summary of innovative incineration technologies
Table 7-3. Summary of proprietary pyrolysis technologies
Table 7-4. Operating conditions for high-pressure oxidation processes
Table 7-5. Summary of thermal destruction technologies
Table 7-6. Summary of thermal desorption technologies [part i] [part ii] [part iii]
Table 7-7. Factors affecting thermal desorption processes
Table 7-8. Factors affecting immobilization processes
Table 7-9. Results of bench- and pilot-scale tests of the B.E.S.T.[reg.] process
Table 7-10. Summary of extraction technologies [part i] [part ii]
Table 7-11. Factors affecting solvent extraction processes
Table 7-12. Suitability of organic compounds for oxidation
Table 7-13. Summary of chemical treatment technologies [part i] [part ii] [part iii]
Table 7-14. Characteristics that limit biodegradation processes
Table 7-15. Summary of bioremediation technologies [part i] [part ii]
Table 7-16. Selection of treatment technologies based on target contaminants
Table 7-17. Effects of selected sediment characteristics on the performance of treatment technologies
Table 7-18. Critical factors that affect treatment process selection
Table 7-19. Analytical parameters for bench-scale testing performed during the ARCS Program
Table 7-20. Review of significant cost factors for selected treatment technologies
Table 7-21. Cost ranges and major factors affecting costs for selected treatment technologies [part i] [part ii]
Table 7-22. Treatment technology costs based on field demonstrations
Table 7-23. Important contaminant loss components for treatment technologies
Table 8-1. Features of disposal technologies
Table 8-2. Requirements of disposal technologies
Table 8-3. Laboratory tests for evaluating confined disposal
Table 8-4. Unit costs for disposal technologies
Table 8-5. Unit costs for commercial landfill disposal
Table 9-1. Examples of pretreatment standards
Table 9-2. Selection factors for suspended solids removal processes
Table 9-3. Selection factors for metals removal processes
Table 9-4. Selection factors for organic contaminant removal processes [part i] [part ii]
Table 9-5. Selection factors for control of air emissions during sediment remediation
Table 9-6. Sample costs for effluent/leachate treatment systems [part i] [part ii]
Table 11-1. Ranking of remediation components


This report was prepared by the Engineering/Technology Work Group (ETWG) as part of the Assessment and Remediation of Contaminated Sediments (ARCS) Program. Dr. Stephen Yaksich, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Buffalo District, was chairman of the ETWG. Mr. Jan Miller of the Corps North Central Division coordinated the preparation of this report and was the technical editor. Mr. Ojas Patel, of the Corps North Central Division, contributed editing and technical support throughout the production of the document.

The ARCS Program was managed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO). Mr. David Cowgill and Dr. Marc Tuchman of GLNPO were the ARCS Program managers. Mr. Stephen Garbaciak of GLNPO was the technical project manager and project officer for this project.

This report was drafted through the Corps support to the ARCS Program provided under interagency agreements DW96947581-0, DW96947595-0, and DW96947629-0.

Principal authors of chapters of this document were:

Contributors to this document included:

In addition to those provided by the principal and contributing authors, comments from the following reviewers aided greatly in the completion of this document:

This report was edited and produced by PTI Environmental Services for Battelle Ocean Sciences under USEPA Contract No. 68-C2-0134.

Acronyms and Abbreviations 

ADDAMS - Automated Dredging and Disposal Alternatives Management System
AOC - Area of Concern
APEG - alkaline metal hydroxide/polyethylene glycol
ARCS - Assessment and Remediation of Contaminated Sediments
ATP[reg.] - Anaerobic Thermal Processor[reg.]
BCI - Building Cost Index
B.E.S.T.[reg.] - Basic Extractive Sludge Treatment[reg.]
BOD - biological oxygen demand
CCI - Construction Cost Index
CDF - confined disposal facility
CERCLA - Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (Superfund)
CFR - Code of Federal Regulations
COD - chemical oxygen demand
Corps - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
COSTTEP - Contaminated Sediment Treatment Technology Program (Canada)
CSRP - Contaminated Sediment Removal Program
CTF - confined treatment facility
CZM - Coastal Zone Management
DAVES[reg.] - Desorption and Vaporization Extraction System[reg.]
DMSO - dimethyl sulfoxide
EA - environmental assessment
EDTA - ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid
EIS - environmental impact statement
ENR - Engineering News Record
ETWG - Engineering/Technology Work Group
FAR - Federal Acquisition Regulation
GLNPO - Great Lakes National Program Office
HDPE - high-density polyethylene
HELP - Hydrologic Evaluation of Landfill Performance
KOH - potassium hydroxide
KPEG - potassium polyethyleneglycol
LaMP - Lakewide Management Plan
MCACES - Micro-Computer Aided Cost Engineering System
NAAQS - National Ambient Air Quality Standards
NEPA - National Environmental Policy Act
NESHAPS - National Emission Standards for Hazardous Pollutants
NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NPDES - National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
NPL - National Priorities List
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
PAH - polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon
PCB - polychlorinated biphenyl
PCDDF - Primary Consolidation and Desiccation of Dredged Fill
PEG - polyethylene glycol
PPE - personal protective equipment
QAPjP - quality assurance project plan
QAMP - quality assurance management plan
RAM - Risk Assessment/Modeling Work Group
RAP - Remedial Action Plan
RCRA - Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
ReTec - Remediation Technologies, Inc.
RI/FS - remedial investigation/feasibility study
RREL - Risk Reduction Engineering Laboratory
SARA - Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act
SEDTEC - Sediment Treatment Technologies Database
SITE - Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation
TCLP - toxicity characteristic leaching procedure
TEA - triethylamine
TSCA - Toxic Substances Control Act
U.S.C. - United States Code
USACE - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
USEPA - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
UV - ultraviolet
VE - value engineering
VISITT - Vendor Information System for Innovative Treatment Technologies
Weston - Roy F. Weston, Inc.
WHIMS - wet, high-intensity magnetic separation


a priori - a predictive technique for estimating losses that is also suitable for planning-level assessments.

alternative - a combination of technologies used in series or parallel to alter the sediment or sediment contaminants to achieve specific project objectives.

bench-scale - testing and evaluation of a treatment technology on small quantities of sediment (several kilograms) using laboratory-based equipment not directly similar to the full-sized processor.

capping - a disposal technology where the principle is to place contaminated sediments on the bottom of a waterway and cover with clean sediments or fill.

component - a phase of a remedial alternative.

contaminant loss - the movement or release of a contaminant from a remediation component into an uncontrolled environment.

demobilization - the process of removing construction equipment from a work site.

desiccation limit - a stage of drying where evaporation of any additional water from the dredged material will effectively cease.

effluent - dilute wastewaters resulting from sediment treatment and handling; this includes discharges, surface runoff, wastewater, etc. from a confined disposal facility or landfill.

feasibility study - a study that includes evaluation of all reasonable remedial alternatives, including treatment and nontreatment options.

in situ - in its original place.

leachate - includes waters that specifically flowed through the sediment, or precipitation that has infiltrated sediments in a confined disposal facility or landfill.

mobilization - the process of bringing construction equipment to the work site.

moisture content - a measurement of the amount of moisture in a soil sample commonly used in engineering and geological applications, calculated (as a percentage) as follows:

Note: Moisture content is not the complement of solids content.

passive dewatering - dewatering techniques that rely on natural evaporation and drainage to remove moisture.

pilot-scale - when referring to the testing or demonstration of a sediment treatment technology, the use of scaled-down but essentially similar processors and support equipment as used in full-sized operation to treat up to several hundred cubic meters of sediment.

pontoon - a buoyant collar used to support a pipe section.

pretreatment - a component of remediation in which sediments are modified prior to treatment or disposal.

process option - a specific equipment item, process, or operation.

remedial investigation - the determination of the character of sediments and the extent of contamination for a Superfund site.

solids content - a measure of the mass of dry solids/mass of whole sediment or slurry in percent form.

vadose - the zone of soil above the groundwater level.

value engineering (VE) - a process where cost estimates are used to compare technically equivalent features during detailed design.

water content - also called moisture content, an engineering term which is determined as the mass of water in a sample divided by the mass of dry solids, expressed as a percentage.

windrow - a long row of material that has been left to dewater and air dry.


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