Contaminated River Sediments

The US Environmental Protection Agency called for the removal of the highly PCB-contaminated sediment in the Lower Sheboygan River and Inner Harbour. Baird completed the investigation of the mobility of river bed sediment and potential erosion and transport during extreme erosion events.

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US Army Corps of Engineers - Detroit District
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Project Highlights

3D numerical model simulations evaluated the scour potential of the sediments in the lower 5 km of the river. This investigation assisted in defining the areas of remediation that may be susceptible to erosion and transport during extreme events.

  • Statistical analysis of 100yr flow/erosion event
  • Field surveys gathered core sediment samples for lab analysis
  • Sediment transport analysis in an urban water body

Project Challenges

  • Define the 100-year erosion event where the river meets Lake Michigan to determine whether buried contaminated sediments would be released to the aquatic environment
  • Define the erosion resistance of the clean silty sediment sitting above and protecting the contaminated sediment.
  • Develop and test a 3D numerical model of river flow and river bed erosion to simulate the 100-year event and the erosion resistance.

Baird Solutions

  • Consideration was required for both extreme high river flows and low lake levels and the combined probability of these two inter-related parameters.
  • There are no accepted models or algorithms for erosion resistance of this type of sediment; therefore, cores were extracted and tested by three separate labs for independent estimates.
  • Baird’s in-house 3D model of river flow and river bed erosion was customized to specifically represent the conditions of the Sheboygan River.