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Great Lakes Dredged Material Testing & Evaluation Manual


The guidance provided in this manual is applicable to all proposed discharges of dredged material to the United States waters of the Great Lakes Basin. This includes disposal operations conducted under Section 404 permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) or authorized State or Tribal agency, as well as Federal projects conducted by the USACE.

The testing and evaluation procedures described in the manual provide only a portion of the information necessary for a complete evaluation of a proposed dredged or fill material discharge, as required by Section 404(b)(1). These testing procedures are directed at the "contaminant determination" portion (40 CFR 230.11(d)) of the larger 404(b)(1) evaluation, although the information obtained through these testing procedures are relevant to other determinations. The final determination of acceptability of any proposed discharge of dredged material also considers the probable impact, including cumulative impacts of the proposed discharge, on the public interest.

Issues relevant to the identification and delineation of wetlands are outside the scope of this manual. In addition, this manual does not provide guidance on the identification of disposal sites for dredged material. USEPA/USACE guidance on the selection of disposal sites is provided in "Evaluating environmental effects of dredged material management alternatives--A technical framework" (PDF 1,024Kb, 95pps).

This manual will not, in general, address concerns with fill material. The rationale for this omission is that the evaluation and testing described herein is focused upon chemical contaminants. Fill material, such as stone or soil from commercial sources, is not usually a significant carrier of contaminants. Exceptions to this may be specific fill materials which could be carriers of chemical contaminants or when dredged material is used for fill. This manual will also not address the impacts of the excavation or dredging activities during a dredging and disposal operation.

The guidance provided in this manual is not intended to be used to evaluate the environmental effects of in-place contaminated sediments or to determine the appropriateness of sediment remediation. Guidance on techniques for evaluating sediment remediation alternatives was developed through the Assessment and Remediation of Contaminated Sediments (ARCS) program and is available on-line from the USEPA Great Lakes National Program Office.


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