Erie Pier is a waterfront storage facility that receives and processes dredge material from the Duluth-Superior harbor. It is an important asset for the area port and shipping industry.
The original 2007 Erie Pier Management Plan (EPMP) outlined the steps necessary to convert its function from a Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) to a Processing and Reuse Facility (PRF) for the beneficial reuse of dredged materials.
Many HTAC members asked that the EPMP be updated to address the ongoing management of dredge material. A key goal is to ensure that the need for another storage facility can be avoided indefinitely. The MIC facilitated this update of the document in partnership with key stakeholders, primarily the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, and technical experts from multiple agencies.
The final document was approved by the Harbor Technical Advisory Committee and the MIC Policy Board in April 2021.
One recent example of the HTAC’s successful, collaborative planning process is what’s happening at Erie Pier. It might seem a little hard to get excited about this “hidden in plain sight” facility on the Duluth waterfront—but it represents an entirely new paradigm for dredge material handling.
Thanks to the efforts of many HTAC members who undertook an intensive multi-year planning process, and to the US Army Corps of Engineers which subsequently agreed to make a significant investment in redesigning and re-engineering the facility, a major physical restructuring of the full-to-capacity Contained Disposal Facility at Erie Pier was undertaken to convert it to a Processing and Reuse Facility. It utilizes hydraulic sorting to separate out the clean, uncontaminated sand and silt that’s dredged from the shipping channels for reuse in large-scale projects such as road construction and landfill cover.
The Duluth Seaway Port Authority now manages Erie Pier dredge materials as a valuable, re-usable resource instead of a waste product. By creating a cost effective and environmentally sound alternative to standard dredge material disposal practices, it will save local taxpayers the millions of dollars it would have cost to develop a new CDF.