US Army Corps of Engineers
Engineer Research and Development Center

Sediment Research Laboratory

Expert Sediment Evaluation, Treatment, and Disposal

Published Sept. 24, 2014
Intern Elizabeth Bruns conducting bioturbation experiments at the Sediment Research Laboratory.

Intern Elizabeth Bruns conducting bioturbation experiments at the Sediment Research Laboratory.

The Sediment Research Laboratory (SRL) is a state-of-the-art facility serving the Center for Contaminated Sediments (CCS) at the Engineer Research and Development Center’s (ERDC’s) Environmental Laboratory (EL) in Vicksburg, Mississippi.  The SRL performs feasibility testing and process parameterization to evaluate contaminated sediment remediation and dredged material management alternatives. The SRL also examines physicochemical and biological processes of sediments to support modeling of contaminant fate and transport. The SRL is a 3600-square-foot facility with a 600-square-foot pit, a 300-square-foot wet laboratory, a 100-square-foot humidity-controlled room for gravimetric analysis of marine sediments, and a 1400-square-foot Annex.  The SRL also contains the resources needed for addressing sediment treatment and disposal options at a pilot scale resembling a field environment.  The facility can be used to develop in situ treatment and capping technologies, including placement methods for mixtures of capping materials and innovative amendments.

Well-equipped Facilities that Duplicate Field Site Conditions

The facilities provide researchers with multiple columns and tanks that are diverse and large enough to analyze not only physicochemical properties, but also perform biological analyses, such as bioassays and bioaccumulation testing using living organisms.  The columns were designed to address groundwater flow, gas ebullition, consolidation, and long-term burial, as well as issues relevant to resuspension, residuals, capping, bioturbation, sequestration, and contaminated sediment management.  The columns can be computer controlled and operated for extended periods of time (one to three years), providing the users a facility with significant control of environmental variables to duplicate important field site conditions.

Success Stories/Examples

In situ Treatment/Thin Reactive Cap Feasibility Testing for USEPA Great Lakes National Program Office was performed at:

  • Manistique Harbor -- Contaminated by PCBs
  • Ottawa River -- Contaminated by PCBs and PAHs
  • East Branch of Grand Calumet River -- Contaminated by PAHs, PCBs and Metals
  • Torch Lake -- Contaminated by Copper
  • Deer Lake -- Contaminated by Mercury

SERDP Research on Functional Bioavailability of Contaminants

EPA Region 1 -- Placement of Callahan Mine Site Estuarine Sediments in a Hypersaline CAD Cell

EPA Region 1 -- Control of PCBs Releases from Placement of New Bedford Sediments in a CAD Cell

EPA Office of Science Technology and Innovation -- Feasibility Testing for Placement of Erosion Resistant Sand/Clay Cap Mixture

Supporting Technology

The SRL supports the development, calibration and verification of sediment and dredged material management models of the Automated Dredging and Disposal Alternatives Modeling System (ADDAMS); in particular, the CAP/RECOVERY models for contaminated sediment-water column interactions; the Primary consolidation, Secondary compression and Desiccation of Dredged Fill (PSDDF) model for dredged material consolidation; and the DREDGE and Particle Tracking Model (PTM) for sediment resuspension and contaminant dispersion. 

ERDC Points of Contact

Questions about the SRL?

Contact: Dr. Carlos E. Ruiz
Phone: (601) 634-3784 
Email: Carlos.E.Ruiz@usace.army.mil

Or

Dr. Paul R. Schroeder
Phone: (601) 634-3709
Email: Paul.R.Schroeder@usace.army.mil