The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) operates a free ferry between Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula. Sediment had accumulated at the ferry landing on the Bolivar side, making it difficult for the boat pilots to avoid hitting bottom, especially during low tide. TxDOT wanted to dredge sediment from the area of the ferry landing and use the dredged material for beach replenishment.
The biggest challenge was to obtain sediment cores at locations with water depths ranging from 15 to 30 feet, and to do so without interfering with ferry traffic. The ultimate challenge of the project was to provide a comprehensive report that would help TxDOT ensure the safety of beachgoers.
TxDOT asked Kleinfelder to assess the sediment prior to dredging to determine whether any chemicals were present in concentrations that would pose potential health hazards to people using the beach. Kleinfelder engaged a subcontractor with equipment and experience working in marine environments, which facilitated obtaining the sediment cores. Kleinfelder also coordinated with TxDOT around the ferry boat schedules in order to optimize the timing for obtaining the sediment cores.
Kleinfelder provided a report that compared the concentrations of chemicals detected in the sediment to established health-based standards. Based on the results of the project, TxDOT was able to proceed with the plan for management of the dredged sediment. Beach sand replenishment, an ongoing project in the Galveston area, was able to proceed.