Lake Erie Dredged Material Program

Dredged Material: Improving Ohio's Water Quality and Economy

Each year, harbors on Ohio’s north shore must be dredged to keep the shipping channels open so commodities can move in and out of the ports. Nearly 1.5 million tons of material are dredged annually. Historically, much of the dredged material was dumped in the open waters of Lake Erie. However, with passage of Senate Bill 1, that will no longer be an option after July 1, 2020.

The program has one overall goal - to improve Lake Erie water quality by addressing potential impacts from dredged material. To meet that goal, there are two sub-goals:

  • By July 2020, none of the material dredged is disposed in the open waters of Lake Erie
  • By July 2025, sedimentation in the Lake Erie watershed is minimized.

Read more about the program goals and objectives. If you have ideas about how Ohio can use this valuable resource, please email us or contact David Emerman directly by phone at (330) 963-1283.

With proper characterization and handling, uncontaminated dredged material can be used for many things including beach/near shore nourishment, habitat creation or restoration, landscaping, road construction, land reclamation, landfill cover and in the manufacture of marketable products such as concrete, brick, block and topsoil.

With the State’s help, the public and private sector in the region will be able to capitalize on the environmental and economic opportunities created by this resource.

Public, private and nonprofit stakeholders in and around the harbor areas are in an ideal position to help identify and benefit from developing viable dredged material uses. The first step is recognizing that the material is a valuable resource with real economic value.

To assist these efforts, the State will identify potential end uses of the dredged materials based on geotechnical and chemical characteristics.

Here are a few ways dredged material may be used:

Local Governments and Private Businesses 

  • Use and promote using dredged material for beach/near shore nourishment, habitat creation or restoration, landscaping, road construction, landfill cover, and brownfield and other land reclamation.
  • Use and promote using products such as topsoil, concrete and concrete-based goods, brick, block and other construction materials made using dredged material.
  • Help identify and promote other potential uses of dredged material in your community.
  • Assist in creating viable business opportunities around the beneficial use of dredged material. 


  • Use dredged material to restore your soil.
  • Use dredged material and products made using dredged material. 




The Dredged Material — Make it Your Business Digging Up Ideas Workshop was held in Elyria, Ohio on May 11, 2016. This workshop provided an opportunity to explore ways Ohio can repurpose material dredged from Lake Erie’s harbors. Policy makers, business experts and others were on-hand to discuss what is needed to make dredged material beneficial use a reality.

Building Partnerships for Beneficial Use Projects: Ohio’s Digging Up Ideas Workshop — presented to the Great Lakes Dredging Team at their Annual Meeting on May 18, 2016 in Chicago, IL




Breakout Sessions

In just two hours, workshop participants identified potential solutions for some of the identified challenges and barriers. We are grateful to the energy, enthusiasm and creative spirit of those who participated. This document summarizes and consolidates the ideas developed in each of the three break-out rooms.


Experts from the following areas attended the Digging Up Ideas Workshop. A complete list of attendees will be posted here later.

  • Agriculture
  • Brownfields
  • City and Regional Planning
  • Citizens and Students
  • Construction
  • Economic Development
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Advocates
  • Equipment Distribution
  • Green Building
  • Habitat Creation and Restoration
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Landscaping and Nursery
  • Materials Management
  • Mining
  • Parks and Natural Areas
  • Port Administration
  • Risk Financing
  • Site Development
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Water and Wastewater Treatment


Beneficial Use Information

Port Poster Displays

Healthy Lake Erie Projects

Cleveland Material Ready for Use

Jim White from the Port of Cleveland and Jason Ziss from Kurtz Bros., Inc. share what is being done in Cleveland to manage dredged material with a grant from the Healthy Lake Erie Fund. The Port of Cleveland has invested in two specific projects – a bedload interceptor and a sediment processing facility. Additionally, Kurtz Bros. are harvesting and selling material from an old confined disposal facility.

Ohio’s Largest by Volume
Dredged Material Management Challenge

Joe Cappel from the Port of Toledo and John Hull from Hull and Associates share what is being done in Toledo to manage dredged material with a grant from the Healthy Lake Erie Fund. The Great Lakes Dredged Material Center for Innovation will help local leaders evaluate dredged material placement, dewatering, use of interim cover crops, soil amendments and other testing, operations and maintenance activities necessary to plan for the full-scale implementation of the beneficial use of dredged material for agricultural and blended soil product purposes.


Beneficial Use

What is dredged material?

Dredged material includes material excavated or dredged from a lake or stream. The Ohio EPA beneficial use program focuses only on material dredged from federal navigation channels on Lake Erie during harbor or navigation maintenance activities. Dredged material can consist of soil, sand, silt, clay and organic matter that have settled out onto the bottom of the channel.  

If I want to beneficially use dredged material from a federal navigation channel in an upland setting, do I need Ohio EPA approval?

Yes. If you wish to beneficially use dredged material in an upland setting, you will need to first submit a Land Application Management Plan (LAMP) permit application by completing LAMP Form A and LAMP Form C1 which can be found here (click on the “I-N” Tab and then click on the “LAMP Form” bar to access the forms). In addition, you will need to submit a description of how you will manage, store and/or treat the dredge prior to beneficially using the dredged material. You must also submit all sampling and analysis data of the dredged material along with all proposed beneficial uses. If you are interested in beneficially using dredged material in an upland setting, please contact Ohio EPA’s Division of Materials and Waste Management at (614) 644-2621 and they will answer any questions you may have, help you complete the LAMP permit application and assist with the authorization process. 

Is Ohio EPA developing beneficial use rules for dredged material?

Yes. Ohio EPA is in the process of developing beneficial use rules which will include the use of dredged material from federal navigation channels. In May, 2015, draft beneficial rules were released for interested party comment. Ohio EPA is reviewing the comments received and anticipates taking the first step in the formal part of the Ohio rule-making process by filing proposed rules and providing an Ohio EPA public hearing and comment period early in 2016. Following consideration of formal public comments and testimony, the proposed rules will have a separate hearing before the Ohio Legislative Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review. Once these have been completed, we will file final rules and set an effective date. Until the rules are finalized, the LAMP process described above should be followed. 

Has Ohio EPA approved the beneficial use of dredged material?

Yes. To date, Ohio EPA has issued two Land Application Management Plan permit authorizations for the beneficial use of dredged material. They are both associated with the beneficial use of dredged material from a Confined Disposal Facility located in Cleveland, Ohio. The first authorization was issued on June 29, 2015; the second authorization was issued on Nov. 5, 2015.  

Dredged Material - Make It Your Business!
Each year, 1.5 million cubic yards of material is dredged from the federal navigation channels along Ohio’s Lake Erie shoreline. Historically, most of the material dredged from Lake Erie has been placed back into the open waters of the lake. Thanks to the enactment of Senate Bill 1, open-lake disposal will no longer be an option as of July 1, 2020. It’s time to stop wasting dredged material and start using it to help Ohio. For more information, visit the webpage.

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