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Munitions and Dredging Experience on the United States Coast

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A number of dredging projects have unknowingly and unfortunately encountered munitions and explosives of concern (MEC). MEC have been discovered on dredges (e.g., in dragheads, cutterheads, pump casings) and at the dredged material placement site. Detonations have occurred that have either damaged the dredge plant or have even sunk the dredging vessel. A number of recent dredging projects have proactively addressed MEC issues before the start of construction, thereby greatly reducing overall risk and MEC cleanup costs. This paper explains common dredging equipment, discusses techniques useful in reducing the inherent risks of dredging in sediments containing MEC, and discusses lessons learned during various dredging projects involving MEC.

Application of MEC avoidance and exclusion techniques during dredging operations is minor compared to the enormous cost of post-dredging MEC cleanup. Most importantly, it is possible to avoid exposing the public to explosive safety hazards and minimize those to workers with proper planning and execution.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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