Letter: Many precautions for Sound disposal
This is in response to your Aug. 7 editorial cartoon and recent editorial about the Army Corps of Engineers’ dredge disposal in Long Island Sound [“Stop dumping in the Sound,” Aug. 4]. It’s disappointing to see the newspaper of record for Long Island give its readers the wrong impression on the disposal of suitable dredge material into the Sound.
Before material is dredged, it is always thoroughly analyzed physically, chemically and biologically, including for toxicity. Testing includes comparing the dredged material with the material in the proposed disposal location to ensure that the material is environmentally acceptable. The required testing is conservative and includes risk assessments that the material must pass.
The sampling and testing plans, test results and suitability determinations must be independently reviewed and confirmed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Material that does not pass the testing cannot be placed in open water by federal law.
Disposal sites are routinely monitored to assess any impacts of dredged material placement on the waters and environment of Long Island Sound. All analyses and monitoring reports are part of the public record for the placement sites and the projects that generate the dredged material.
Dredging and practical, cost-effective dredged material disposal are necessary to support national defense and security, navigation safety, environmental response, maritime commerce and recreation. Dredging and open-water placement have been practiced in Long Island Sound for more than a century. Nearly 40 years of studies, monitoring and management of the disposal sites have shown no significant long-term adverse impact.
Despite this, the Corps has committed to work with the states of Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island to identify reasonable alternatives to open water placement of suitable materials.
Larry Rosenberg, Concord, Massachusetts
Editor’s note: The writer is chief of public affairs for the Army Corps of Engineers’ New England District.