Governor Larry Hogan and the state Board of Public Works (BPW) today approved contracts with two Maryland companies to study use of sediment from shipping channels leading to the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore for innovative purposes such as creation of structural concrete. The contracts follow three others recently approved by the BPW to test use of dredged material to make bricks and pavers, concrete barriers and shoreline protection structures, as well as in sod production.

“Our administration is pleased to see companies explore ways to transform dredged material into products that aid construction and boost our economy,” Governor Hogan said. “These innovative uses could turn sediment that builds up in the Chesapeake Bay into a valuable resource for making bricks, concrete and even structural support for shorelines.”

Dredge sediment gathers in shipping channels and must be routinely cleared to keep lanes open for ship navigation. In the past, the sediment byproduct has been used for land restoration. Projects to restore Hart-Miller Island in Baltimore County and Poplar Island in Talbot County have utilized dredged material, and James and Barren islands in Dorchester County are slated to be rebuilt over the next several years using dredged sediment. The contracts approved by BPW could greatly expand ways to reuse dredged material.

“The Maryland Department of Transportation’s Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) has been a national leader in using dredged material in ways that benefit the community and the environment,” MDOT Secretary Greg Slater said. “We’ve used this sediment for years to rebuild islands, create wildlife habitats and reinforce shorelines. These new proposals could lead to new and innovative reuse of dredged materials.”

The contracts approved today by the BPW include:

• $270,400 to Harford Industrial Minerals Inc., of Joppa, to study and demonstrate use of dredged sediment to produce lightweight aggregate for uses such as structural concrete and various fill applications. The results will be compared to existing commercial options with the goal of making a locally produced product of comparable, or superior, quality.

• $274,200 to Susquehanna Concrete Products Inc. (“Suscon Products”), of Magnolia, also in Harford County, to study and demonstrate the use of dredged sediment in production of general use concrete products such as retainer walls and low-compression strength blocks.

“We’re excited to partner with these companies to test the ability to reuse sediment for productive purposes,” said MDOT MPA Director William P. Doyle. “This allows us to continue removing dredged sediment from our channels to maintain the 50-foot depth needed to accommodate the supersized vessels that bring cargo and jobs to the Port of Baltimore while recycling that sediment to use again in other ways – a real win-win.”

In recent months, other contracts approved by the BPW for use of dredged material include:

• $299,305 to Northgate Environmental Management Inc., of Frederick, to study and demonstrate using dredged sediment to develop concrete traffic barriers and shoreline protection structures. This could result in development of upland and in-water concrete products to provide coastal stabilization and support for local transportation projects.

• $203,119 to FasTrak Express Inc., of Rising Sun, to study and demonstrate the use of dredged sediment to develop re-engineered soil for growing sod. This application could ultimately produce an agricultural commodity.

• $298,061 to Belden-Eco Products LLC, of Canton, Ohio, to study and demonstrate the use of dredged sediment in creating ceramic bricks and permeable pavers manufactured by the contractor. This could turn sediment into bricks and permeable pavers for sale as a stormwater management solution for the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Each of these contracts will use sediment from the MDOT MPA’s Cox Creek Dredged Material Containment Facility outside Baltimore. If successful, the contracts could result in long-term agreements with MDOT MPA to continue using dredged sediment for innovative reuses.

As part of the Port’s continuing public-private partnership (P3) with partner Ports America Chesapeake, dredging for a second, 50-foot deep berth at the Seagirt Marine Terminal is moving forward. The additional berth will allow the Port to handle two supersized ships simultaneously. Four new additional Neo-Panamax cranes are scheduled to arrive in April 2021 and be operational by summer.

The 50-year P3 agreement between MDOT MPA and Ports America Chesapeake was signed in 2009, and continues to result in increased tax revenue for the state and funds for the Transportation Trust Fund. The Port’s growing container business also accentuates the need for the Howard Street Tunnel expansion project in Baltimore, which will accommodate the use of double-stacked rail cars to move cargo from the Port. That project is benefitting from public-private investment from the state, CSX and others.