Whitehurst Dredged Material Management Area - A Successful Implementation of Management Planning for the Long-Term Disposal of Dredged Material in Virginia Beach, Virginia

Rebecca S. Francese, Sr. Environmental Scientist, Waterway Surveys & Engineering, Ltd.

Daniel F. Adams, PE, Coastal Programs Manager, City of Virginia Beach, Public Works Engineering

The City of Virginia Beach converted a man-made borrow pit, formerly referred to as Whitehurst Lake, into a Dredged Material Management Area (DMMA).  The intent was to provide a long- term disposal site for dredging projects throughout the City of Virginia Beach.  The DMMA has been used for the disposal of dredged material from various private and municipal stormwater maintenance and navigational dredging projects since 2011.  To date, more than 550,000 cy of dredged material have been placed in the Whitehurst DMMA.

The DEQ permit requires that the City perform monthly water sampling and site photo-documentation in accordance with an approved monitoring plan.   The monitoring plan was submitted in May 2010 and included monthly monitoring at three stations in the DMMA and receiving waters and photo-documentation of the active fill areas.  Water quality parameters include temperature, pH, salinity, turbidity (NTUs to document total suspended solids) and dissolved oxygen (DO).  Temperature, salinity and turbidity recordings are collected to document changing site conditions.  There are, however, regulatory standards for DO and pH.

In addition to water quality testing, permit conditions state that only clean, inert material can be placed in the DMMA.  Prior to disposal, each individual project must provide laboratory documentation of representative sediment test results for metal leachate, polychlorinated biphenyls, petroleum and BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylenes) components.  Dredged material with elevated contaminant levels are not placed in the Whitehurst DMMA.

The Whitehurst Dredged Material Management Plan was finalized in July 2016 and details methods and means relative to all aspects of managing the DMMA.  The Plan provides recommendations on accommodating multiple users, maximizing the long-term capacity of the DMMA, permit compliance, dewatering methods, identification of potential beneficial uses of the dredged material and adaptive management practices.   As a result of the active implementation of the Plan, the DMMA has been operating successfully without any regulatory violations or documented adverse impacts to the receiving waters since 2011.  The Whitehurst DMMA has provided immeasurable water quality and recreational benefits throughout the City of Virginia Beach due to increased maintenance of stormwater facilities and the improvement of small boat navigation projects.


Author Bio

Ms. Francese is a senior level scientist with more than 38 years of experience in both coastal and environmental projects. Her expertise ranges from environmental permitting and regulatory coordination to coastal zone management including dredging studies, shoreline stabilization and beach re-nourishment. She is extremely knowledgeable regarding federal and state permitting requirements and maintains an excellent working relationship with the various regulatory agencies.