State Law Matters: Ohio’s Lake Erie Dredged Material Program

May 16, 2016

All of the information below was taken from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency web page for its Dredged Material Program

If you live or work along Ohio’s northern border, aka Lake Erie, particularly near one of Ohio’s 8 ports, then you may be aware of the need to regularly dredge our shipping channels and the controversy that has been brewing with regard to what is done with the dredged material.  Currently, some or all of the dredged material, depending on where along the lakeshore the dredging occurs, is dumped in the open lake. By July 2020, the State of Ohio will no longer permit disposal of dredged material in the open waters of Lake Erie.

The Ohio EPA and others are scrambling to look for cost effective solutions for the material that is dredged, much, if not most, of which is suitable for reuse.  Here are a few FAQs that are published on the Ohio EPA’s web site:

What is dredged material?

Dredged material includes material excavated or dredged from a lake or stream. The Ohio EPA beneficial use program focuses only on material dredged from federal navigation channels on Lake Erie during harbor or navigation maintenance activities. Dredged material can consist of soil, sand, silt, clay and organic matter that have settled out onto the bottom of the channel.
What if I want to beneficially us dredged material from a federal navigation channel in an upland setting, do I need Ohio EPA approval?
Yes. If you wish to beneficially use dredged material in an upland setting, you will need to first submit a Land Application Management Plan (LAMP) permit application by completing LAMP Form A and LAMP Form C1 which can be found here (click on the “I-N” Tab and then click on the “LAMP Form” bar to access the forms). In addition, you will need to submit a description of how you will manage, store and/or treat the dredge prior to beneficially using the dredged material. You must also submit all sampling and analysis data of the dredged material along with all proposed beneficial uses. If you are interested in beneficially using dredged material in an upland setting, please contact Ohio EPA’s Division of Materials and Waste Management at 614-644-2621 and they will answer any questions you may have, help you complete the LAMP permit application and assist with the authorization process.
Is Ohio EPA developing beneficial use rules for dredged materials?
Yes. Ohio EPA is in the process of developing beneficial use rules which will include the use of dredged material from federal navigation channels. In May, 2015, draft beneficial rules were released for interested party comment. Ohio EPA is reviewing the comments received and anticipates taking the first step in the formal part of the Ohio rule-making process by filing proposed rules and providing an Ohio EPA public hearing and comment period early in 2016. Following consideration of formal public comments and testimony, the proposed rules will have a separate hearing before the Ohio Legislative Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review. Once these have been completed, we will file final rules and set an effective date. Until the rules are finalized, the LAMP process described above should be followed.
Has the Ohio EPA approved the beneficial use of dredged material?
Yes. To date, Ohio EPA has issued two Land Application Management Plan permit authorizations for the beneficial use of dredged material. They are both associated with the beneficial use of dredged material from a Confined Disposal Facility located in Cleveland, Ohio. The first authorization was issued on June 29, 2015; the second authorization was issued on Nov. 5, 2015.


The Army Corp of Engineers oversees the dredging. It typically covers the cost of dredging and disposal of the dredged material, but only at the level of the most affordable option. Open lake dumping of the dredged material is the lowest cost option available today. If another method of disposal is required, as it will be after July 2020 in Ohio, we will have to come up with the money to pay the cost differential.  We have 4 years to figure that out and implement the solution.
Stay tuned for future updates.