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Ryerson Creek Outfall: Designing a collaborative project under the Great Lakes Legacy Act using public-private partnerships
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The Ryerson Creek Outfall site (RCO), located in Muskegon, Michigan, is the last sediment remediation project in the Muskegon Lake Area of Concern (AOC).  Work at the RCO is being performed under the Great Lakes Legacy Act (GLLA) Program, which brought together federal (USEPA Great Lakes National Program Office [GLNPO]) and non-federal sponsors (TDY Industries LLC [TDY]) and the Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy [EGLE]).  Leveraging the interests in project completion and financial contributions of each sponsor, extensive collaborative efforts in 2019 and 2020 led to the completion of the pre-design investigation (PDI), feasibility study (FS), remedial design (RD), and contract award.


Collaboration began with scoping of the PDI to ensure the team had the data necessary to define the remedy and provide necessary design data. Screening and evaluation of remedial alternatives was performed with extensive collaboration between GLNPO and the cost-share partners. Constructive FS and RD discussions resulted in a remedy acceptable to all parties consisting of mass removal, cover of residual impacts to protect receptors by exposure pathway elimination, natural recovery processes, and wetland restoration. The PDI data demonstrated the presence of differing conditions at various areas of the RCO; accordingly, the selected remedy incorporates area-specific mechanical dredging depths with unamended sand residual surface cover and incorporates a confirmation sampling-based decision tree to optimize implementation. 

Collaboration extended to jointly working out both necessary project logistics (such as access agreements) and the pursuit of local cost share contributors (such as contribution from Muskegon County for landfill disposal) which allowed the project to progress.

Results/Lessons Learned.

This presentation will highlight key achievements of the RCO Project Team, both in the execution of the FS and RD and the innovative cost-share mechanisms used. The collaborative nature fostered by the GLLA partnership allowed for the streamlined advancement of the project from PDI through release of RD to bid in approximately one year, a significant achievement.  The resulting expediency is celebrated by all of the RCO stakeholders, who will realize the benefits of the project more rapidly.  While the general benefits of the public-private partnership afforded by GLLA are well established, the ability of this project to identify cost-share resources from local government, State agencies, industry partners, and local contributors demonstrates the tangible benefits that are gained from working collaboratively. The presentation will include the perspectives of GLNPO and the two cost share partners on the collaborative working experience.

Publication Summary

  • Geosyntec Authors: Jedidiah Sirk, Dogus Meric, and Gregory Gibbons
  • All Authors: Jedidiah Sirk, Dogus Meric, and Gregory Gibbons (Geosyntec Consultants, Inc., Chicago, IL, USA); Mark Loomis and Heather Williams (USEPA GLNPO, Chicago, IL, USA); Edgard Bertaut (TDY Industries LLC, Pittsburgh, PA, USA);
    and Heather Hopkins and Lee Schoen (Michigan EGLE, Lansing, MI, USA)
  • Title: 2023 Battelle Sediments Conference
  • Event or Publication: Event
  • Practice Areas: Sediment assessment and remediation, Contaminated site assessment and clean up
  • Citation: Battelle's International Conference on the Remediation and Management of Contaminated Sediments at the JW Marriott in Austin, Texas, on January 9 through 12, 2023
  • Date: January 9 through 12, 2023
  • Location: JW Marriott in Austin, Texas
  • Publication Type: Platform Presentation