Clean Ocean Action

Clealn Ocean Advocate, April 2006

Jennifer Samson, PhD, 732-872-0111,

$40 Million Later...

     The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the NJ Department of Transportation’s Office of Maritime Resources recently showcased a sediment decontamination technology, called Biogenesis, that uses high-pressure water and detergents to remove contaminants and produce topsoil.  Biogenesis is

one of four technologies participating in a dredged material decontamination program that has received over $40 million in federal and state funds over

12 years.  The federally-mandated goals program were to develop one or more technologies on a commercial-scale that demonstrated a capacity to process at least 500,000 cubic yards/year in an economically-feasible and

environmentally-responsible manner.

     At this point, COA’s position is that this showcase was premature,

at best, as Biogenesis has yet to prove that this technology can adequately

decontaminate sediments or successfully operate at the required rate. 

Also, based on current estimates, the processing cost significantly exceeds the cost of technologies currently available for managing dredged sediments with comparable contaminant loads.  The purpose of the decontamination program was to provide cost-effective options for beneficial re-use of dredged material that would ultimately produce a marketable end-product.  Based on COA’s ongoing investigation, none of the technologies in the program are on target to provide an affordable, alternative treatment train for dredged material from navigational dredging operations in the NY/NJ Harbor.  COA will continue to investigate this program and provide updates.


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