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Letter: Dredge spoils can be dumped responsibly

The Long Island Sound.

The Long Island Sound. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Your Jan. 15 editorial, “No new dumping in the Sound,” raises alarm about a recent recommendation from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue allowing a full range of options — including open-water disposal — for handling of materials from dredging projects.

It’s easy for officials in New York to cast aspersions on the practice of open-water disposal, because given the geological nature of Long Island they have little need for it.

On the Connecticut side, our use of the waters of the Sound depends on periodic dredging projects to remove sand and silt in ports and harbors. In addition, the characteristics of dredged materials here often makes them unsuitable for reuse.

As a result, dredged material has also been placed at open-water disposal sites in the Sound. Over four decades, this has proved to be an environmentally responsible practice, and there is no evidence linking it to diminished water quality or damage to natural resources, aquatic life or public health.

Long Island Sound is one of Connecticut’s most important natural resources, and we are investing heavily in its future. As Connecticut’s environmental agency, we would not advocate for any policy that would place Long Island Sound at risk.

Dennis Schain, Hartford, Connecticut

Editor’s note: The writer is the communications director for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.