Port of Long Beach Wins ASCE Innovation in Sustainable Civil Engineering Award

Nearly 10 years ago, the Port of Long Beach (California) instituted its Green Port Policy, which directs the port to integrate sustainable practices into port development and operations by actively promoting an organizational culture of environmental enhancement, fiscal responsibility, and community engagement. In fact, this culture of considering sustainable alternatives that would have the lowest negative impact on society and the environment extends to everything at the port, from purchasing office supplies to designing a multi-million-dollar marine terminal.

In recognition of its efforts, the Port of Long Beach received ASCE’s 2014 Innovation in Sustainable Civil Engineering Award for their Pier G Slip Fill and Associated Dredging project. The project removed more than 80 acres of contaminated sediment from the former Naval Complex at the West Basin of the Port of Long Beach.

By reusing the sediments in to fill the Pier G Slip, the Port was able to divert over 500,000 cubic yards that would have otherwise gone to upland landfills and avoided more than 39,000 truck trips from congested highways. Instead, the sediment was used to successfully develop 14 acres of usable land which are now utilized as part of a container terminal essential to Port operations.

“We are extremely honored that this very prestigious national award was given to one of our projects,” says Douglas J. Sereno, P.E., ENV SP, F.ASCE, Director of Program Management at the Port of Long Beach.  Al Moro, P.E., the Capital Projects Senior Executive Lead, accepted the award on behalf of the port at ASCE’s International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure, November 6-8, 2014 in Long Beach, California.

“We presented [the award] at our board meeting on November 19 [to the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners] and they were very impressed with the national significance of this award and the fact that our many efforts to be the sustainable “green port” were recognized by ASCE.”

Presently, the port moves over $180 billion in cargo annually, creating over 1.4 million jobs nationally, supporting businesses, and generating tax revenue. 

“For me, the award was a validation of the port’s  years-long effort to incorporate sustainability into our Capital Improvement Program,” Sereno said. “It’s a special honor for all of us at the port to be recognized.  Our efforts are paying off, and we are being nationally recognized for operating and constructing in a sustainable manner.”

In partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, KPFF, Anchor QEA, Moffatt & Nichol, and Manson Construction, the Pier G project provided substantial environmental and community benefits by remediating sediment contamination, deepening the harbor waters to increase safe vessel passage, creating temporary jobs during construction and permanent jobs from increased port trade, removing sunken structures, safely removing unexploded ordnance and munitions, and removing a degraded Navy Pier containing hazardous materials from the basin.  Through the innovative use of recycled material as fill surcharge, the port reduced air emissions and consumption of resources.

“The problem with a dredging project is not the dredging but the limited disposal opportunity you have at a site,” noted Sereno of the project. “And if you don’t have an in-water site, it all has to go upland and the overall project cost will increase five or even ten times.  In other words, the disposal of a ton of sediment in-water might be $15, where upland it might be $150.  So, there was a huge economic advantage by doing a landfill, as we did with this project.”

According to Sereno, placing the sediments at the Pier G Slip Fill “in-water” disposal site instead of sending it inland saved the project over $70 million.”

“Another benefit, in addition to saving trucking costs, is that the project eliminated air emissions and carbon emissions, eased and/or eliminated congestion on the highways, and lowered the risk of related accidents.  We also realized environmental benefits by specifying the use of electric dredging to reduce the dredging-related emissions as well.”

Sereno concluded, “By doing the Pier G Slip Fill, we developed valuable new land which was redeveloped [into a container terminal] and added to the economic prosperity of the region.”

From ASCE News, By Doug Scott

Photo Credit: Port of Long Beach

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