ANAMAR was contracted by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District to conduct a sediment evaluation to determine suitability of new work dredged material from the planned Charleston Post 45 Harbor Deepening Project for ocean disposal.
ANAMAR managed all sampling operations and worked closely with subcontractors to coordinate logistics. Because the project involved 21 dredging units, the sampling effort took nearly 4 weeks to complete and presented some unique challenges. Inclement weather caused by Tropical Storm Sandy followed 2 days later by a winter storm resulted in minor delays in sampling operations. This area also experiences 6-foot tidal fluctuations resulting in very strong currents during incoming and outgoing tides; therefore, the sampling team had to plan daily sampling operations during workable currents (i.e., slack tides). Because sampling was taking place within the shipping channel and berthing areas, the captain maintained regular communication with the ships so sampling would not interfere with shipping traffic. The physical composition of the sediment itself also proved to be challenging. Most of the sediment was highly consolidated Cooper Marl, which was difficult to penetrate and to remove from the core barrel. A method was developed in the field to pressurize the core barrel using compressed air to extrude sample material from the barrel. This “on-the-fly” innovation helped the field effort stay on schedule.Coordinating sample delivery with the chemistry and bioassay laboratories to meet holding times while field operations were ongoing required multiple sample shipments. Additionally, it was necessary to run the bioaccumulation tests in two batches due to holding times and the field time required to collect such a large number of samples. Close coordination with the laboratories and couriers was critical. ANAMAR succeeded in collecting all the required sample material and processed and shipped the material to the laboratories within holding times.