About Us

The Sediment Management Work Group (the "SMWG") is an ad hoc group open to membership from industry and government parties with responsibility for management of contaminated sediments. As a group we are dedicated to the use of sound science and risk-based evaluation of contaminated sediment management options. Formed in early 1998, the Mission Statement of the SMWG is as follows :

      To advance scientifically sound approaches to improve sediment risk assessment, 

collect and share information to enhance and evaluate remedial technologies and alternatives,

and promote risk-based and cost-effective sediment management decisions.

The SMWG recognizes that management of sites involving contaminated sediments frequently involves unique and complex scientific and technical issues, including assessment methodologies, evaluation of risk, and remedial options. The consequences of those decisions typically far exceed those of land-based remedies. In order to empower the parties addressing such complex issues with the benefits of the state-of-the-art information available on sediment management options and to foster the development of risk-based, scientifically sound approaches to sediment management, an ad hoc work group was formed.

The SMWG consists of a strong and diversified membership with representation from the aerospace, diversified manufacturing, metal, oil, chemical, utility, commercial ports and paper industries to name just a few.  The Group also includes Associate Members consisting of industry and trade associations and government PRPs, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and certain departments of the U.S. Navy.  The SMWG membership is limited to in-house representatives of industry and governmental PRPs (outside contractors and attorneys are not eligible to join).  Recognizing that many consulting companies share our objectives, the SMWG recently allowed consultants to participate as Sponsors.   As interest and concern over sediment issues has increased, our membership ranks have correspondingly grown, from 14 members in 1998 to over 40 companies as Members and Associates in 2016, together with over 50 consultant companies in the Sponsor category.

Projects already being undertaken by industries represented in the group include:

  • Implementation of a targeted national education program supporting a risk-based framework for sediment management decision making, including a comprehensive decision tree presented to federal and state regulators (follow the link to see our decision tree).
  • Implementation of a targeted national technology transfer program communicating the problems/results of a number of completed dredging remedies to federal and state regulators, including the consistent failure of dredging to achieve typically acceptable regulatory levels for PCBs in sediments (with residuals typically ranging from 6-10 ppm).
  • Discussions with U.S. EPA Headquarters and other stakeholders, recommending changes to the current national sediment management policy, in an effort to constructively contribute to the development of the upcoming EPA sediment guidance by the Contaminated Aquatic Sediments Remedial Guidance Workshop (CASRGW) and to have an impact on future remedy selection decisions.
  • Active participation in the development of a unified, consensus decision tree for management of contaminated sediments with other stakeholders.
  • Providing detailed technical input (including presentations) to the National Academy of Science's (NAS) Special Committee Evaluating Remediation Options for Contaminated Sediments.
  • Interfacing with a number of national and state organizations addressing contaminated sediment issues.  For example, a number of members of the SMWG are actively participating in the Sediments RTDF (Remediation Technology Development Forum) and the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Cooperation Work Group (ITRC) Sediment Task Force (the ITRC is one of the primary national organizations of state environmental regulators).
  • Publication of nine technical papers establishing a framework for making sediment management decisions based on a risk-based methodology.  These include an interactive decision tree for evaluating sediment sites, as well as the following topics:  

Assessment and Modeling

  • Effective Decision-Making Models for Evaluating Sediment Management Options
  • Risk-Based Management Principles for Evaluating Sediment Management Options

Natural Processes and Sediment Stability

  • Using Natural Processes to Define Exposure from Sediments
  • The Role of Natural Attenuation / Recovery Processes in Managing Contaminated Sediments
  • Sediment Stability at Contaminated Sediment Sites

    Remedy Selection and Remediation

  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Remediation Technologies for Contaminated Sediments (series of fact sheets)
  • State of Current Contaminated Sediment Management Practices
  • Measuring Effectiveness of Remedial Actions Against Remedial Action Objectives at Contaminated Sediment Sites
  • Maintenance of this web site.  This interactive web site allows for efficient communication with all of our members and includes information on sediment developments and sediment management issues as well as opportunities for interactive exchange of information and ideas on various sediment management topics.
  • Frequent and timely e-mail updates of new developments in the sediment management to SMWG members and associates.
  • Semi-annual meetings which provide excellent opportunities for exchange of ideas and strategies and updates on key sediment management issues and on key pending sediment projects.
  • Development of a database by one of our members consisting of a detailed national survey of completed sediment remediation projects. This database includes detailed and never before compiled information on dredging costs, project scopes, cleanup levels, problems encountered, examination of whether remedial action objectives were established and, if so, whether they were accomplished, residual contaminant information (where available), and a number of other important categories of information which will permit an objective evaluation of dredging and other sediment management options.  The database reports are available on the SMWG web site.

This is a critical time for all stakeholders to address the technical issues associated with the emerging public policy in the area of contaminated sediment management. As indicated by the release of EPA's Contaminated Sediment Management Strategy ("CSMS"),the release of EPA’s 2005 sediment guidance, and the release of the NAS Report on a risk-based decision-making framework for sediments, sediments are now the subject of heightened interest. Significant technical issues requiring immediate attention include: developing realistic and attainable risk-based remedial action objectives, developing appropriate risk assessment methodologies and sediment assessment tools, evaluating the effectiveness of current sediment remediation technologies and evaluating the roles of natural recovery and cost. We believe that now is the time to coordinate an objective, scientific assessment of these issues and to communicate the results of this assessment to the public and private sectors and to policy-makers addressing contaminated sediment issues.

In short, the SMWG will be of critical importance to parties wishing to address contaminated sediment management issues in a technically and scientifically sound manner.  For more information about the SMWG, please contact the Group's Coordinating Director, Steven C. Nadeau, Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, 660 Woodward Avenue, 2290 First National Building, Detroit, MI 48226, phone (313) 465-7492 or e-mail him at snadeau@honigman.com.