What makes it interesting?
The Grand Calumet River system drains a heavily-industrialized region between Chicago, Illinois, and Gary, Indiana, before emptying into Lake Michigan through the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal. Much of the system is listed by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a Great Lakes Area of Concern for its legacy of pollution, including polychlorinated biphenyls, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals.
How HCSS Software assisted with this project
Environmental Restoration and JF Brennan both utilize HCSS Heavy Bid software to compile cost data for their companies roles in the project. These two bids were then merged to create a master estimate. The combined estimate then incorporated consulting costs from NRT and added major subcontractor costs. HCSS software was instrumental in combining a multifaceted partnership into a single bid. The bid required dozens of line items of unit pricing for a four-option period contract with multiple alternatives.
Dredging is underway on the East Branch of the Grand Calumet River as part of an $80 million effort to remove contaminated sediment and restore habitat along the stream. Dredging is expected to remove approximately 350,000 cubic yards of polluted mud from the river and soil from adjacent degraded wetlands.
Two hydraulic dredges on the river will be pulling up sediment through 8-inch intake pipes. Because the contamination runs so deep into the sediment, complete removal would be cost prohibitive. The project’s partners and their engineers have opted to partially dredge the tainted sediment and place a capping layer over the bed to isolate the remaining buried chemicals from the environment.
The sediment cap will consist of a layer of sand and a commercial product called AquaGate. The AquaGate product for this project will be fine aggregate with an outer layer of organoclay to ensure long-term cap performance. Crews will apply the cap in thin lifts over the remaining soft sediment with the company’s patented broadcast spreading system.
Lower levels of contamination from the sediment have also infiltrated wetland soils along the river, and a large portion of the projected 350,000 cubic yards of material to be removed will actually come from the wetland excavation. But the project’s benefits reach beyond vacuuming and digging chemicals out of the marshes. This project, which is expected to take around three years, is one of several in the works to help the Grand Calumet River recover from decades of pollution.
The Grand Calumet River system has seen several sediment removal projects in recent years, including two on the river’s West Branch funded by the Great Lakes Legacy Act. The Legacy Act is also contributing $52 million to the current dredging effort, which will focus on a 1.8-mile stretch of the East Branch near East Chicago, Indiana. The state of Indiana will contribute another $28 million that originated from an earlier settlement with area industries. The East Branch project is being conducted by Great Lakes Sediment Remediation, LLC (GLSR), a joint venture including Natural Resource Technology, Inc., J.F. Brennan Company, Inc., and Environmental Restoration, LLC.