Kansas City District News Stories

Kansas City District’s Alexander continues ERDC University Project

U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center
Published Aug. 16, 2022
Dr. Paul Schroeder (right), Jesseca Alexander and Dr. Carlos Ruiz (left)

Dr. Paul Schroeder (right) and Dr. Carlos Ruiz (left), both research civil engineers with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s (ERDC) Environmental Laboratory, serve as ERDC University mentors for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District’s Jesseca Alexander (center) during her six-month detail. The team is standing in front of a 10-foot testing column used in two successful placement tests performed with different combinations of anode coke and sand as the cap material to determine the most advantageous placement method. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo)

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District Environmental Engineer Jesseca Alexander works on her research project

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District Environmental Engineer Jesseca Alexander works on her research project, “Unconfined Sediment Placement Tests,” during her six-month detail at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Miss. As an ERDC University selectee, Alexander is preparing the cap material for a placement test in a ten-foot column. The test will show how the sand and coke perform when placed through a large water column. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo)

Dr. Paul Schroeder (right), and Jesseca Alexander (left) are preparing to use a large shaker sieve

Dr. Paul Schroeder (right), and Jesseca Alexander (left) are preparing to use a large shaker sieve to sort previously ground anode grade coke amendment into desired size ranges. Schroeder is mentoring Alexander during her six-month detail at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Miss., as part of the organizations ERDC University. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo)

VICKSBURG, Miss. - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District’s Jesseca Alexander is half-way through her major research project with the U.S Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s (ERDC) six-month detail program known as ERDC University, or ERDC-U.

Alexander serves the district as an environmental engineer in the Geotechnical/Processing Engineering Section, conducting hazardous, toxic and radioactive waste investigations and design services.

Working with her mentor, Dr. Paul Schroeder, a research civil engineer with ERDC’s Environmental Laboratory’s (EL) Environmental Processes and Engineering Division, Alexander is conducting placement tests for capping unconfined in-situ contaminated sediment with a homogenous cap layer of coke or activated carbon and sand mixture. Dr. Carlos Ruiz, EL research civil engineer and expert on modeling contaminant transport through sediment caps and designing caps for contaminated sediments, is a contributing mentor as well.

Alexander has completed column testing to understand the behavior and interactions of diverse particles resulting from several placement operations and to determine favorable mixtures of sand and amendments. She is continuing her experiments using EL’s 6-by-6-by-6-foot tank to examine large, unconfined placement operations.

Schroeder, who has been with ERDC since 1980 and is well-known for dredged material management and contaminated sediment remediation, said, “Contaminated sediments are a widespread problem throughout our industrialized harbors and waterways and capping with sand is the leading remedial technology for these sites. Amendments are often included with the sand to extend the life of the cap, to increase the cap effectiveness and to reduce the thickness of the cap to maintain the functions of the waterways. Often, cap placement operations result in loss of a large fraction of the amendment and separation of the amendment from the sand.”                  

“These placement tests will determine better placement methods and material selection to reduce the problems associated with placing mixtures of sand and amendments,” he continued. “Jesseca’s efforts have been integral to all aspects of the study ― from preparing and sizing materials, to examining physical processes of settling and entrainment, to screening conditions for successful mixtures, designing test equipment, running tests and demonstrating placement operations.”

Using her technical expertise in the fields of civil, environmental, chemical, geotechnical and hydrogeological engineering, Alexander will also conduct a literature review on new publications related to the draft, “Technical Guidelines for In Situ Sediment Remediation” for updates helpful to the field.

She will present the results of her project both in-person and virtually at the ERDC-U graduation ceremony scheduled for Sept.15. Interested team members can access the event with an invitation request to Alexander.

ERDC-U Program Manager Antisa Webb said, “This is an exciting opportunity for the selectees to help shape the future of the Corps of Engineers’ technical knowledge base. Participants gain knowledge of ERDC science and technology, collaborate and partner with ERDC researchers to grow programs and explore opportunities for career advancement. The goals are to establish a process that leverages workforce development with collaborations and partnerships across the USACE.”

Following her presentation, ERDC Director Dr. David Pittman will present Alexander with her ERDC University Diploma. To learn more about ERDC University, including application requirements for the upcoming session opening Oct. 1, 2022, please visit https://wiki.erdc.dren.mil/index.php?title=ERDC_University.