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Posted 6/8/2018

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By Gwyn G. Neill

VICKSBURG, Miss. (April 25, 2018) – U.S. Representative Darin LaHood, Illinois's 18th Congressional District, along with Peoria, Illinois, Mayor Jim Ardis and Peoria City Treasurer Patrick Nichting, recently met with Dr. Chuck Theiling from the Environmental Laboratory of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center. Rock Island District’s Tom Heinold and Anthony Heddlesten were also in attendance to discuss the beneficial use of dredged material for Illinois River navigation and ecosystem projects. Constituent interest in harvesting sand and gravel from excessive sedimentation accumulated in prominent deltas filling Lake Michigan was the topic of discussion. 

The concept has significant environmental and economic benefits and is well-aligned with an Army Corps of Engineers and Tri-County Regional Planning Commission Comprehensive Conservation Plan that Theiling is helping to prepare. 

The USACE Planning Assistance to States project envisions funding environmental dredging in the lake by making a custom drainage soil from navigation dredging stockpiles and fine organic sediment from the lake, and selling "a better product at a better price" to commercial interests. 

The project plans to integrate municipal yard waste, commercial trimmings and municipal biosolids into drainage soil blends that will be used in urban greenscaping mandated by an EPA combined sewer overflow consent order for the City of Peoria. This integrated approach should reduce operating costs across many government sectors to potentially fund more environmental dredging. 

This study will benefit many Corps dredging operations by establishing a sustainable regional economic development model that improves aquatic habitat while reducing navigation operation costs.

Dredged Material EL Environmental Laboratory ERDC Theiling USACE