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Category: Technology
  • Beneficial Use of Dredged Material in the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway: Approaching the Regulatory Process

    Purpose: Following the Chief of Engineer’s January 2023 goal to expand the beneficial use of dredged material (BUDM), the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) strives to apply new and creative ways to increase utilization of dredged materials from a historic 30%–40% to 70% by 2030. As USACE Savannah District (SAS) increases BUDM efforts, a critical component of this transition is understanding and navigating the regulatory requirements. This Technical Note outlines the regulatory process for placement of dredged material in Georgia, identifies challenges and institutional barriers, and offers potential solutions to streamlining the overall process. By increasing the ease of navigating the regulatory process, USACE can facilitate an increase in BUDM and Engineering with Nature® (EWN®) projects in Georgia, and potentially other projects employing nature-based solutions (NBS). While regulatory details may vary from state to state, the Georgia example presented here can serves as a road map for the general types of regulatory procedures and potential hurdles found nationwide.
  • Low Sill Control Structure: Physical Modeling Investigation of Riprap Stability Downstream of End Sill

    The model investigation reported herein describes the process to model and analyze the stability of scaled riprap in the existing 1:55 Froude-scaled Low Sill Control Structure physical model. The existing model is a fixed-bed model, so modifications were made to create a testing section for the scaled stone. Three separate gradations of scaled riprap were tested at varying boundary conditions (discharge, head and tailwater elevations, and gate openings). Each test was surveyed using lidar for pre to posttest comparisons. It was found that Gradation B remained stable throughout the tests in the physical model.
  • Lessons in Rearing Mealworms for Plastics Degradation

    Purpose: The primary objective of this research is to determine if plastics-degrading gut bacterial communities from a nonoptimal insect host can be successfully transplanted into the gut of the optimal mealworm host for large scale composting. To achieve this goal, foundational questions about basic mealworm husbandry needed to be addressed, including proper housing and feeding regimes, expected plastics degradation rates, and survivability on plastics as a food source. This technical note serves as a mealworm husbandry protocol and a guide for lessons learned in the early stages of experimentation dealing with establishment of plastics-degrading mealworm colonies.
  • Engineering With Nature: An Atlas, Volume 3

    Abstract: Engineering With Nature: An Atlas, Volume 3 showcases EWN principles and practices “in action” through 58 projects from around the world. These exemplary projects demonstrate what it means to partner with nature to deliver engineering solutions with triple-win benefits. The collection of projects included were developed and constructed by a large number of government, private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and other organizations. Through the use of photographs and narrative descriptions, the EWN Atlas was developed to inspire interested readers and practitioners with the potential to engineer with nature.
  • Site Selection and Conceptual Designs for Beneficial Use of Dredged Material Sites for Habitat Creation in the Lower Columbia River

    Abstract: Channel maintenance in most major rivers throughout the United States requires ongoing dredging to maintain navigability. The US Army Corps of Engineers explores several options for placement based on sediment characteristics, material quantity, cost, operational constraints, and minimization of potential adverse effects to existing resources and habitat. It is a priority to beneficially reuse dredged sediments to create habitat and retain sediments within the river system whenever possible. Nonetheless, there can be discrepancies among state and federal resource agencies, landowners, tribes, and various other stakeholders about what constitutes a benefit and how those benefits are ultimately weighed against short- and long-term tradeoffs. This work leveraged prior Regional Sediment Management efforts building consensus among stakeholders on a suite of viable strategies for in-water placement in the lower Columbia River. The goal was to identify suitable locations for applying the various strategies to maximize habitat benefits and minimize potential adverse effects. A multistep site-selection matrix was developed with criteria accounting for existing site conditions, overall placement capacity, tradeoffs, long-term maintenance, cost, stakeholder concerns, and landscape principles in the context of other habitat restoration projects implemented in the lower river. Three highly ranked sites were selected for conceptual design and exemplify results of collaborative beneficial use implementation.
  • Railroad Infrastructure Management: A Novel Tool for Automatic Interpretation of GPR Imaging to Minimize Human Intervention in Railroad Inspection

    Abstract: Regular monitoring and inspection of military railroad tracks are necessary to ensure the safe transportation of military freight. Manual railroad inspection has drawbacks and limitations that can impact accuracy and efficiency. This study introduces a novel tool designed to automate Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) imaging interpretation for railroad ballast condition assessment, aiming to reduce human intervention in inspections. The tool uses advanced signal processing techniques, such as the Short-Time Fourier Transform (STFT) and Wavelet Transform (WT), to quantify ballast fouling levels accurately, enhancing maintenance and safety protocols for railroad tracks. Validation through comprehensive testing, including two case studies, demonstrates the tool’s superior efficacy over traditional manual inspection methods. This research represents a pivotal step towards more efficient and reliable infrastructure management, ensuring critical railroad systems’ safety and operational integrity.
  • A Dynamic Aircraft Response Model for Determining Roughness Limits

    Abstract: Runway roughness poses significant risks to aircraft and aircraft personnel. Roughness irregularities can be found in both civilian and military airfields, from rutting to bomb-damaged repairs. Various methods exist for determining roughness criteria, such as discrete surface deviation evaluation and dynamic response models. Although validated dynamic response models such as TAXI-G were used extensively in the HAVE BOUNCE program from the 1970s up to the late 1990s, modern military aircraft have not undergone the same formal analysis. This paper presents the mathematical formulation and validation of the WESTAX dynamic response model. The computer program is capable of simulating the responses of different critical aircraft components while trafficking over idealized runway profiles. The validation results showed that the numerical model was capable of closely matching field data over single- and double bump events. The findings suggest that the WESTAX dynamic response model is a capable candidate for establishing aircraft roughness limits.
  • Interlaboratory Study of Polyethylene and Polydimethylsiloxane Polymeric Samplers for Ex Situ Measurement of Freely Dissolved Hydrophobic Organic Compounds in Sediment Porewater

    Abstract: We evaluated the precision and accuracy of multilaboratory measurements for determining freely dissolved concentrations (Cfree) of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in sediment porewater using polydimethylsiloxane and low-density polyethylene polymeric samplers. Four laboratories exposed performance reference compound (PRC) preloaded polymers to actively mixed and static ex situ sediment for approximately one month or more. For Cfree results, intralaboratory precision was high for single compounds; most PAHs and PCBs variability was low. Variability was higher for most hydrophobic PAHs, PCBs, and naphthalene, which were present at low concentrations and required larger PRC-based corrections. Intra- and interlaboratory variability between methods was low. Cfree polymer equilibrium was achieved in approximately one month during active exposures, suggesting using PRCs may be avoided for ex situ analysis using comparable active exposure; however, such testing may not reflect field conditions. Polymer-derived Cfree concentrations for most PCBs and PAHs averaged within a factor of 2 compared with concentrations in isolated porewater; difference factors of up to 6 were observed for naphthalene and the most hydrophobic PAHs and PCBs. Cfree results were similar for academic and private sector laboratories. The accuracy and precision demonstrated for determinating Cfree using polymer sampling are anticipated to increase regulatory acceptance and confidence.
  • Rolling Prairie, Minnesota, Beneficial Use Area: A 100-Year Plan for Multiuse Land Management and Restoration Using Dredged Sediment

    Purpose: Inland waterway dredged sediment management is challenged by a lack of capacity in existing dredged material confined disposal facilities (CDFs) and a lack of available land to place sediment near frequently dredged navigation channels. Navigation operation and maintenance (O&M) dredging, material management, and coordination costs are increasing, and alternative long-term solutions are required. In response, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), St. Paul District has addressed the challenge by investigating regional sediment management and beneficial use of dredged material when updating navigation pool–specific dredged material management plans (DMMP). The recently completed Pool 5 DMMP planning identified a 950 acre (384 ha)[1] placement site consisting of several land parcels available from willing sellers that will accommodate a “100-year plan” for dredged material management (USACE 2019). This technical note describes the multiple-use site plan that creates sand prairie and wetland habitat, provides public access to sand stockpiles, and implements agriculture studies with the University of Minnesota to evaluate the benefits of dredged material (i.e., sand) amendments in alluvial cropland soils, which has not been widely investigated. The Rolling Prairie site will demonstrate benefits of “distributed DMMPs” in which thin-layer placement on agricultural land near dredging locations can supplement traditional disposal methods. It also shows the advantage of having a large placement site to achieve multiple objectives.
  • Additive Regulated Concrete for Thermally Extreme Conditions

    Abstract: This study details a multiprong effort to validate the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory’s solution for concrete construction and repair in cold weather, Additive Regulated Concrete for Thermally Extreme Conditions (ARCTEC). ARCTEC is the product of several years of research and consists of a testing and simulation workflow which generates scenario-sensitive guidance for use of accelerating admixtures in concrete. This report details efforts to validate ARCTEC using real-world, full-scale, field demonstrations. These demonstrations were used to collect data on the behavior of concrete obtained through conventional supply chains, to assess the accuracy of the simulation component of the workflow, and test efficacy of ARCTEC guidance in achieving frost protection. Results indicate that ARCTEC is at a high level of maturity, and provides additive dosage guidance that ensures frost protection and strength development in concrete placed where overnight lows fall as low as 0°F. The effort and cost required to implement ARCTEC as a cold weather protection strategy is minimal, and significantly less burdensome than conventional methods. Any cold region installation with a winter construction or repair needs and access to conventional concrete supply chains could field ARCTEC, and reduce the cost and schedule constraints associated with winter construction.