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Region 1: EPA New England

Dredged Material Management in Long Island Sound

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) jointly regulate dredged material disposal under federal authorities provided by section 404 of the Clean Water Act and section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA), which is also known as the Ocean Dumping Act (ODA). In administering these programs, we work closely with other federal resource management agencies like the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and state environmental agencies to ensure proper coordination and consistency with other federal, state, and local statutory and regulatory requirements and environmental standards.

Since 1980, EPA and USACE have been applying sediment testing requirements to determine the suitability of material for disposal at dredged material disposal sites. In Long Island Sound, all federal and private projects generating 25,000 cubic yards of dredged material or more are reviewed under the ODA.

In the case of dredged material, the decision to issue a permit is made by the USACE, using EPA's environmental criteria and subject to EPA's concurrence. For all other materials, EPA is the permitting agency. EPA is also responsible for designating ocean dumping sites for all types of material.

On June 3, 2005, EPA issued a final rule to designate the Central Long Island Sound and Western Long Island Sound disposal sites for long-term use, but with restrictions that are intended to reduce or eliminate the disposal of dredged material in Long Island Sound. Use of the sites pursuant to these designations may be suspended or terminated in accordance with these restrictions. A link to the final rule is provided on the Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Sites web page.

One of these restrictions links continued use of the sites to the completion of a regional dredged material management plan (DMMP) for Long Island Sound. A DMMP is a comprehensive planning process and decision-making tool to address the management of dredged material for a specific harbor or navigation project, group of related projects, or geographic area. Additional detail on the DMMP is provided on the Long Island Sound Dredged Material Management Plan web page.

A related restriction requires EPA to conduct an annual review of progress toward completion of the DMMP. EPA is complying with this requirement by producing an annual report and making it available to the general public. The first three annual reports are available on the Long Island Sound Dredged Material Management Plan web page.

Another restriction is intended to ensure progress toward reducing or eliminating open-water disposal in Long Island Sound pending completion of the DMMP by requiring the formation of an interagency Long Island Sound Regional Dredging Team (RDT). The RDT reviews dredging projects to ensure that a thorough effort has been conducted to identify practicable alternatives to open-water disposal and ensure the use of those alternatives to the maximum extent practicable. In addition to information on the status of the DMMP, the EPA annual report includes information on RDT deliberations conducted in the preceding year, and on the quantity of dredged material and its final placement or disposal location. Additional detail on the form and function of the RDT is available on the Long Island Sound Dredged Material Management Plan web page.

On October 16, 2012, EPA published a Notice of Intent to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Eastern Long Island Sound. For additional information, please visit the Eastern Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Sites web page.

Please visit the Federal Register Page to read the final and proposed notices.

Please visit the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Page for the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Designation of Dredged Material Disposal Sites in Central and Western Long Island Sound.

Please visit the LIS Dredged Material Management Plan (LISDMMP) Page for the EPA Annual Progress Reports.

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