Project Title

Evaluation of Waste Concrete Road Materials for Use in Oyster Aquaculture

Collaborating Universities

Morgan State University
1700 East Cold Spring Lane
Baltimore MD 21251

University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716

Principal Investigator(s)

Dong Hee Kang (MSU) Email:
Anastasia E. M. Chirnside (UDEL) Email:
Mark Bundy (MSU-PEARL) Email:

Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization)

State Highway Administration (SHA): $71,644
Morgan State University (US DOT): $30,000
University of Delaware (US DOT): $30,000

Start Date


Completion Date



As part of their Environmental Stewardship Program, SHA intends to increase the use of recycled materials in an environmentally responsible manner. One way of meeting these goals is using recycled materials to the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay to support spat-on-shell aquaculture. For recycled concrete materials to be used within the aquatic setting of the Chesapeake Bay, we must be assured that it has no direct negative environmental impacts, that it is practical to use in this application and it meets regulatory criteria. The objective is to determine the suitability of waste concrete as bottom conditioning material for oyster aquaculture in the Chesapeake Bay without acute or chronic impacts to the surrounding ecology. The research will evaluate the impact on water chemistry by organic chemical analysis such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)/petroleum hydrocarbon.

  1. Obtain administrative approval for use of RCA lead by MSU
  2. Evaluate the RCA for petroleum byproducts lead by MSU
  3. Impact the water quality and local ecosystem in marine environments lead by UDEL
  4. Provide methodologies for SHA evaluation of recycled materials lead by UDEL


The standardized specifications and guideline for safe use of recycled concrete developed from this research will be implemented by the office of materials and technology in order to ensure safety of recycled material without detrimental environmental effects. The research findings will result in a product that assists engineers in making decisions for the re-uses of the recyclable concrete materials for the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay to support spat-on-shell aquaculture. The findings will also provide a safe application guidance on the quality control and quality assurance to achieve high levels of safe and friendly reuse of recycled concrete materials. Essentially, the recycled concrete materials will be highly considered for the beneficial uses, where SHA will have already invested in strategies for performance measures and safety assessment. Developed safe application guidance can be minimized environmental effect and reduce the concerning. The State is finalizing new regulations that will expand oyster aquaculture. As these regulations are adopted, more Bay bottom areas will require conditioning to make them useful for on bottom aquaculture.


Multiple benefits to the natural environment, safety of the public, and SHA’s work processes are expected from this research. The overarching benefit is addressed for the standardized specifications as to avoid adverse impacts to surrounding environments. The benefits include a reduction in recycled materials placed in landfills, minimization of damage to natural resources, reduction in emissions, and ultimately providing safe application guideline and economic growth. Consistent compliance with state environmental quality standards will result in the reduction of surrounding habitat mortality on SHA projects as well as contribute to the State goal of improving the overall health of the Chesapeake Bay. The research data will provide the regulatory agencies with necessary information to potentially reduce or possibly eliminate specific permit conditions regarding potential degradation of environmental quality.

Web Links to Reports and to the Project website