Port strikes a deal with Corps of Engineers

Muskogee Phoenix

Sept. 29–Muskogee City-County Port Authority directors authorized the execution of an agreement that would allow the future use of port property as a disposal site for dredge material.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the site for such use years ago and has “from time to time and on numerous occasions” been used by the agency’s dredging contractors for that purpose. Port Director Scott Robinson, in a letter sent earlier this year to the Corps officials, said use of the “site will afford the Corps the opportunity to save capacity that may currently exist at Corps constructed and managed sites and avoid the cost of constructing and managing new sites in the Three Forks area.”

“The Port authority has permitted the removal of sand dredged from the navigation system and disposed of on this site for beneficial uses,” Robinson said. “Currently, Muskogee Ready-Mix uses the sand to make concrete. In the future there may be an opportunity to use the sand to make porcelain tile …, and the port authority would like to accommodate their desire.”

The terms of a memorandum of understanding approved by port authority directors would make the site available to the Corps and its dredging contractors “at no cost to the government.” The port, however, would retain the authority to sell dredge material deposited at the site.

“We’ve been selling that material for quite a few years,” Robinson said. “While we want to keep that going, this is a good example of a beneficial use of dredge materials, which makes it sustainable.”

Robinson said the common practice along the nation’s inland navigation system is to establish a dredge disposal site, fill it with dredge material, and then repeat the cycle. That practice, he said, raises concerns about a depletion of disposal sites.

“Providing a beneficial use of dredge materials … is something that is important on all of our rivers,” Robinson said. “There is a lot of dredging that takes place … along the inland waterways, so you have to have a place to go with that material.”

Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901, @dsmootMPhx or dsmoot@muskogeephoenix.com.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Waterways Council, Inc.