Crews late last week began pumping 950,000 cubic yards of sand onto Babe’s Beach in the latest round of beach-building.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; or on Twitter @HeathKeri.


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(14) comments

Joanie Steinhaus

Parks board stated the sand has been rigorously tested. Did they or the USACE release the test? It would be interesting to know what is being placed on our beaches

Mary Beth Bassett

We have reached out to the U.S. Army Corps who perform the tests. Here is how they describe the process: The Corps routinely conducts physical and chemical analysis on dredging projects throughout the Galveston District in order to characterize the shoal material to be excavated during routine maintenance dredging. We perform environmental services to include collection and analyses of water and sediment samples from the federally-maintained ship channels. In particular, this testing involved special Tier III testing for bioassays, which requires the Corps to test animals such as clams that live in the sediment for a period of time. We then check the animals for toxicity and bioaccumulation in their tissue.

Routine testing allows staff to analyze and evaluate shoal material to determine whether unacceptable impacts would result from dredging operations prior to maintenance of the channel. Through sampling analysis, we are able to review data to make certain we remain in compliance with multiple federal regulations, including the Clean Water Act. The Corps evaluates sediment testing in conjunction with our federal partner the Environmental Protection Agency.

Joanie Steinhaus

Thanks Mary Beth. What was the date of the last routine testing and did they test in the area that is being dredged?

Ted Gillis

It’s called sand.

Bailey Jones

Sand, plus whatever local industries have dumped in it over the decades.

Gary Miller

Bailey> Don't take much WOKE to figure that out. Sand + what? Will Babes Beach have a sign listing what was included with the sand? Inquisitive tourists want to know.

Bailey Jones

yep - this is how we know it's time to retire that word.

George Croix

All of the dredge spoil has been thoroughly tested to the exact same degree that the all of the air we're inhaling has been thoroughly tested to not contain anything that somebody somewhere might have a negative reaction to.

Can't speak for any others but the particular industry I'm familiar with had while I was there an aquarium in the outfall water treating plant that was filled with water drawn directly from that discharged into the bay.

The fish in it never staged a protest alleging any harm, to my knowledge...grin

Such was not always the case, but then we all once pooped in our diapers....

Charlotte O'rourke

Clipped from EPA posted above:

Every year in this country, the dredging of shipping channels, harbors, waterways, canals, lakes, and reservoirs produces large quantities of valuable sediment material. Most of this dredged material is clean and suitable for beneficial uses such as beach restoration, shore protection, agricultural uses, habitat enhancement, and many other applications. However, dredged material has not been exploited for its full economic, social, and environmental potential because of costs and the prevailing view that dredged material is waste.

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the vast poten- tial for dredged material as a manageable, beneficial resource. This increased awareness has coincided with the growing difficulty in locat- ing new dredged material disposal areas and escalating disposal costs. The increase in beneficial use projects is due also to forward-looking federal, state, and local governmental policies and private initiatives to take full advantage of the natural resources produced by dredging activ- ities regionally and around the country.

George Croix

Hey, Charlotte....

Personally, I've got no beef or worries about using dredged materials for whatever similar non-sunk in the bay materials would be used for. It was the EPA that had conniptions about possible heavy metals in it in the past , rightly or wrongly depending on source/location.

I translated those EPA paragraphs full of buzz terms as:

"We have to dredge and couldn't find many places to put it since we made people worry about it before, so decided to declare it beneficial and valuable and 'social' (that's the kicker - anything with 'social' attached will win every time...), and anyone not believing us now is not 'forward-looking'.....


Gotta love it.....

And the good thing is that dredged beach filler will wash right back out again and thus over a decade or so repeatedly cleanse itself. Maybe if dredged spoil becomes more popular for private building and reclamation use, the cost of moving it into place will fall enough that it won't run a half million bucks a month or so to build the beaches up for the 2 years or so it lasts...a good thing....

Charlotte O'rourke

Hey George, that surely sums it up.


It’s important to remember asking questions is a good thing and politicians are well politicians hence the spin when spending public money and justifying a reversal of a previous position.

I’m always surprised more people don’t rebel at wasteful government spending when a functional cheaper solution can be used.

The sand replenishment projects are a way to achieve two goals in one.

When the weather clears up, I think I will go have a beer on the beach, and watch the sunset before the millions of dollars of sand goes back out only to be dredged up again.

In the meantime, still no long term engineering solutions to keep the sand and grow the beaches.

Charlotte O'rourke

As a FYI, I’m not sure where the PB is on its sand management plan for a more permanent solution, but since everyone loves the beach, I guess we need to continue with the 2 for 1 plan (dredging/renourishing) until someone figures out a better, cheaper way.

George Croix

Yep. I bet there’s a solution, once enough cash gets spent to find and install it…

I’m never surprised about general apathy toward government spending.

Generally, people think The Government is some independent entity with unlimited money. NOTHING costs too much when somebody else pays for it, and if they’d stayed awake in 7th grade they’d know they are the government…

Never going to get anyone much to care when our leaders can court votes by spending our great great grandkids economy into the dirt right now….

After you finish that beer, grab a handful of sand and keep it at home. Way inflation is heading it may soon be worth more than money…..grin

George Croix


I wonder when President Biden will start the funds this way to build the Ike Dike……

I crack myself up……

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