CASE STUDY: 2,825 Sediment Cores in 3 Weeks

Time was running out for the State of New Jersey.  They needed it done and done right.

Client Needs: As a result of Super Storm Sandy, New Jersey’s channels experienced massive sedimentation. The question was, how much was directly attributable to the superstorm and what was the result of normal buildup processes? FEMA would provide the state with 75% matching funds for the dredging of any Sandy-related buildup. The State needed close to 3,000 sediment vibracore samples to be taken at sites up and down the New Jersey coast in order to properly characterize sediment profiles and get the Federal funds. And they needed them fast. The deadline for submitting these results to FEMA was October 31st. Aqua Survey wasn’t contacted until early October. Other teams had been tasked with the core collection earlier in the year, but had only managed to collect a few hundred samples. The clock was running out.

Solution: Aqua Survey mobilized ten vessel-based, vibracoring teams. All crews were OSHA trained with each captain holding a United States Coast Guard operator’s license. We deployed our fleet of coring vessels in locations ranging from lower Raritan Bay all the way down to Cape May and much of the NJ coast in between.

Aqua Survey coordinated our daily efforts with State geologists that needed to dissect each core, looking for an “out of place” strata of “fresh” plant life. Below the plant strata was considered pre-Sandy existing sediment buildup (not FEMA’s concern). Anything above the churned-in plant strata was judged to be Sandy-deposited sediments needing to be removed. In three weeks, Aqua Survey collected 2,825 sediment cores for the State of New Jersey. Data was submitted to FEMA before the October 31st deadline, allowing the state collect 75% matching funds.

Obstructions: Sediment wasn’t the only thing being moved around during Sandy. Cars, boats, even sections of buildings ended up in waterways, presenting serious navigational hazards. We were tasked to locate these strike hazards. Fifty-six areas required detailed assessment.

Deploying Aqua Survey’s side scan sonar towfish, our survey vessels created digital images of the bottom’s relief on each of 56 different areas. Sonar data was processed and our geophysicists provided the State with precise GPS positioning of each obstruction as well as high-resolution imagery.

Do you have sediment sampling or survey needs?

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