Field study of an unconfined spoil disposal area of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in Galveston Bay, Texas.
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Dredge spoil obtained from maintenance dredging of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is presently disposed in unconfined, submerged spoil areas alongside the channel. Grain size analysis of bottom sediment samples, depth soundings, and wooden stakes were employed in field investigations to determine the location of material from 1 such spoil area over a 5-mo. period after disposal. Immediately following deposition, >40% of the spoil had left the designated spoil area and spread out over the bay floor primarily as a mud-density flow. Eventually spoil covered an area about 3 times larger than the original spoil area. Return of the spoil to the newly dredged channel did not appear significant primarily because of the predominant direction of tidal currents and due to the presence of a submerged dike along the channel. A brief summary of dredging and spoil disposal practices is also included.