Federal Government Rules on Disposal of Dredged Material
Final Document Proposes Two Sites in Long Island Sound
A Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) recommending the designation of two dredged material disposal sites in the western and central regions of the Long Island Sound (Mass.) is being released by EPA. The EIS was prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District. Interested members of the public may review and comment on these materials for 30 days.
Following a multi-year process that has included much public participation, the Final EIS recommends designating two open-water dredged material disposal sites, one in Western Long Island Sound and one in Central Long Island Sound. The EIS evaluates the potential environmental impacts associated with the designation of these sites as long-term disposal sites for dredged material. Both sites are existing dredged material disposal sites that have been in use for several years.
The Final EIS includes a Response to Comments document and Final Site Management and Monitoring Plans (SMMPs), all of which were prepared in consideration of comments received on the Draft EIS published in Sept. 2003. The comments received on the Draft EIS included suggestions concerning alternatives to open-water disposal of dredged material in the Sound, potential impacts on fisheries and other marine resources, composition of dredged material and dredged material/disposal site management and monitoring.
The Draft EIS and SMMPs were available for public review and comment for 95 days. EPA and the Corps held a total of six public hearings, on four days, in New York and Connecticut to ensure opportunity for public participation. EPA is soliciting public comment on the Final EIS for 30 days, beginning Friday, April 16. The comment period will end on Monday, May 17 at 5:00 p.m.
The final EIS identifies the Western Long Island Sound and Central Long Island Sound sites as the preferred long-term open water disposal sites for dredged material from Long Island Sound. The two sites are located in Connecticut waters approximately 2.5 nautical miles south of Stamford and 5.6 nautical miles south of East Haven, respectively. The sites were selected from among four alternative disposal sites and methods that were evaluated in the EIS.
The Final EIS was prepared EPA's New England regional office in cooperation with the New England District of the Corps, in response to the need for a long-term disposal site for dredged material from rivers and harbors in the central and western regions of Long Island Sound. The report was prepared in accordance with Federal laws requiring an evaluation of the potential environmental impacts of designating open-water dredged material disposal sites in Long Island Sound and evaluating alternatives for disposing dredged material.
Work on the EIS began in 1999 when the federal government published a Notice of Intent to designate one or more dredged material disposal sites in Long Island Sound. Periodic dredging and disposal of dredged material is necessary to maintain safe navigation and marine commerce. There presently are no disposal sites in Long Island Sound designated for long-term use.