News Releases from Region 01
EPA Establishes Eastern Long Island Sound Site for Disposal of Dredged Sediment
BOSTON – The U.S. EPA has issued a final rule to designate the Eastern Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Site to receive dredged sediment from ports and harbors in Connecticut and New York that has passed stringent testing requirements and for which practicable alternatives are not available. The Eastern Long Island Sound Disposal Site (ELDS) is located immediately to the west of the current New London Disposal Site, entirely in Connecticut state waters. The existing New London Disposal Site will be closing on Dec. 23, 2016.
"EPA's decision to establish the Eastern Long Island Sound Disposal Site incorporates protections and restrictions on use similar to those established for the Central and Western Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Sites earlier this year," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "Our decision is based on sound science, reflects extensive public input, and strikes an appropriate balance between the need for dredging to maintain safe navigation and protecting the significant natural resources of Long Island Sound. The site protections and restrictions we included in the final rule are intended to help meet the goal of reducing or eliminating dredged material disposal in the open waters of Long Island Sound."
EPA has engaged in a lengthy process to establish the ELDS and two other sites in Long Island Sound for disposal of dredged material found suitable for open-water disposal, and the final designation benefitted from the significant input from state and local agencies, as well as from the general public. In response to public input, EPA's final action reduces the overall number of disposal sites from four to three, reduces the footprint of the ELDS from the original proposal, and protects ecologically-sensitive areas with active fisheries.
The final rule designating the ELDS includes standards for disposal and also includes procedures to promote the development and use of practicable alternatives to open-water disposal of dredged sediment. In order to achieve the second goal, the rule establishes a standing, interagency "Steering Committee" and "Regional Dredging Team" for Long Island Sound. These groups will be comprised of federal and state agency representatives who will work together to identify, develop, and promote the use of practicable alternatives to open-water disposal of dredged material, such as identifying beneficial uses for all types of dredged material. They will also review dredging projects and offer recommendations to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and private dredging entities regarding how the dredged material from such projects should be handled.
EPA's decision is also based on the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for this activity, which was developed under authority of the National Environmental Policy Act. EPA's designation of dredged sediment disposal sites does not actually authorize any specific dredging disposal project, which would still have to obtain a project-specific authorization from the US Army Corps of Engineers and satisfy the stringent requirements of the ocean disposal regulations.