Water Quality Impacts of Dredging and Disposal Operations in Boston Harbor

by J. Craig Swanson, (M.ASCE),
Daniel Mendelsohn,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


The Massachusetts Port Authority is presently planning a navigation improvement project in the port of Boston, consisting of dredging the 10.7 m (35 ft) deep channels and berths in the harbor to a 12.2 m (40 ft) depth. Some of the sediments to be dredged in the harbor are contaminated with elevated levels of toxic pollutants including metals and organics. Concern has been raised over the dredging and disposal of these sediments and their impact on water quality and marine biota and habitat. To address these issues, a state-of-the-art boundary fitted hydrodynaniic and pollutant transport model system linked with a GIS capability, WQMAP, was chosen. The model system uses a boundary conforming grid to map the model domain exactly to the coastline. Water column concentrations were determined for suspended sediments and various toxic constituents. Impacts from both dredging and disposal operations at various sites in the harbor were examined.

Subject Headings: Ports and harbors | Water quality | Dredging | Sediment | Toxicity | Suspended sediment | Pollutants | Massachusetts | United States | Boston

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