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Army Corps Maintenance Dredge Newark Bay the Main Artery of the NY&NJ Harbor

Newark Bay Dredging

USACE, New York District
Published April 22, 2022
Updated: April 22, 2022

Since the early 1960s, the Newark Bay has been vital to the economic engine which is the New York and New Jersey Harbor, the third largest harbor in the United States. It is home to the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, the largest container shipping facility in the New York and New Jersey Harbor.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, award $43.4M contract to Donjon Marine Co., Inc. of Hillside, N.J., in August 2021, for the removal of approximately 390,000 cubic yards (CY) of dredge material (consisting of primarily silt and clay) from the Federal Navigation Channels in Newark Bay, New Jersey (South Elizabeth, Port Elizabeth, Port Newark Pierhead, and Main Channels) to a depth of 40 feet, 45 feet, and 50 feet mean low water.  

“This needed work is critical as the Newark Bay channels support over 44M tons of commerce annually, including over 1.8M tons of petroleum products, coal, food products, manufactured goods and equipment, vehicles, and crude materials,” said Edward Wrocenski, project manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District.

Donjon Marine Co., Inc., crew members are required to work 12 hours per day and 6 to 7 days per week, utilizing three different mechanical clamshell bucket that can remove up to 18 CY.

“All dredge material removed from the Newark Bay is beneficially reused, said Edward. “After the dredge material is dewatered, it is brought to processing facilities where it is mixed with Portland cement and trucked to its final placement sites at Overpeck Landfill in Leonia and Palisades Park, NJ, and the Clean Earth Bethlehem Site in Bethlehem, PA,” said Edward.   

This work will provide a safe and navigable channel for users and cargo vessels, that need the required depth to transit through the high use channel.

A challenge in maintenance dredging of federal channels is removing the authorized cubic yards of dredge material. Before the contract is rewarded preliminary surveys are done to gather data on how many cubic yards of dredge material will be removed, this is the design phase, and provides the contractor with the plans and specs for the project. Shortly before the project can begin another survey is done to collect a more accurate amount of dredge material within the channels.

As a result, the Newark Bay Maintenance Dredging Project total amount dredge under this contract increased from approx. 343,000 CY to 390,000 CY. The increase quantity of dredge material to be removed warrant the contractor an additional 19 days to complete the project, this action is done through a contract modification. 

The Newark Bay 40’ and 50’ reach was last dredge in March and April of 2020, with the removal of 640, 000 and 442,000 CY respectively. 

The maintenance dredging of the Newark Bay is essential to the center of commerce which is the New York and New Jersey Harbor and will enable the largest container ships to deliver goods to the Northeast region of the United States. The Newark Bay maintenance dredging is scheduled to be completed in March 2022.