Dredging Up Toxic Sediments

by Craig P. Schellbach, P.E., (M.ASCE), Environmental Project Manager; Memphis Environmental Center, Inc., Memphis, TN,
Walter van Veen, P.E., Project Coordinator; Conestoga-Rovers & Associates Ltd., Waterloo, Ontario, Canada,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1997, Vol. 67, Issue 3, Pg. 55-57

Document Type: Feature article


Lots of people like to catch their fish and eat them too, but that's a dangerous proposition when they're fishing in water polluted with highly toxic pesticides. In Memphis, Tenn., efficient application of hydraulic dredging techniques restored safe fishing to a lake bordering a Superfund landfill. Almost 30,000 fish, including perch, carp, crappie, gar and a variety of catfish, had been contaminated near the North Hollywood Dump, a former municipal landfill in the north central portion of Memphis. The site received both municipal and industrial waste during its official period of operation, from about 1935 to 1968. This was supplemented by illegal dumping of municipal and construction demolition debris, which continued into the late 1970s. Much of the landfill was within the floodplain of the Wolf River, which borders the north side of the site. Adjacent to the east side of the landfill lies a 40 acre lake created over decades of excavation and dredging operations for sand and gravel.

Subject Headings: Landfills | Water pollution | Dredging | Water-based recreation | Toxicity | Municipal wastes | Local government

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