Aug 22, 2017

Rockland fishpier dredge plan withdrawn!

Rockland fishpier dredge plan withdrawn! 
Opposition to contaminants & costs  push it back for at least a year

What a roller coaster this dredge process has been - the Feds said NO...the City said YES...the Feds came back with YES...the City came back with NO!  At least until 2019 

What happened.
Realizing that a great deal of decisionmaking was going on behind closed doors, we decided to  lift the rock that dredge fast-trackers were creeping about under. We showed  the  people how shaky a plan its supporters had for dealing with old sediments heavy with PCBs lead, cadmium PAHs.

Little more than a year ago the Army Corps of Engineers rejected dumping  Rockland fishpier dredge spoils into the Rockland Disposal Site - located between the Fox Islands and Rockland. The Corps  bluntly found that:
"These sediments are not suitable for unconfined open water disposal at the Rockland Disposal Site (RDS) as proposed. There are alternatives available to the applicant. These include upland disposal or biological testing of the materials.
Metals "in the sediments represented by Composite 2, cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) concentrations for the project are more than twice the “mean plus two times the standard deviation” of the RDS reference value." .
"Five PAHs (phenanthrene, fluoranthene, pyrene, benzo(a)anthracene, and chrysene) concentrations are at least 10 times reference values.
PCBs, "most of the congener concentrations in the project were above the analytical detection limits.
End of excerpts

Then the plan shifted to dumping it onto a public park - Rockland people said NO. Lots of them. Heavy metals PCBs, and families and pets don't mix.  

Foiled again, the  dredge wannabees went back to the Army Corps of Engineers and talked them into reconsidering their earlier NO.  On July 27, 2017, Army Corps' Charles Farris sent an email to two other Corps officials and Bud Brown of sediment sampler EcoAnalysts Inc, 

He tersely stated "Here is the final sampling plan for the Rockland Fish Pier. Please contact me with any questions."


Time to reach out outside Rockland. I contacted the Vinalhaven town manager and the islands lobster cooperative suggested that they  were on the verge of getting a surprise dredge spoils  dump With its 42 million dollar a year (2016) lobster fishery at risk of getting tainted, they were eager to get all the gory details which Maine's Freedom of Access Act and several honest city officials   enabled us to gain and  then get out to the public



L

2. In 2017 the city of Rockland then turned to the land disposal option and found two possible sites.
One would be a fresh topping* of Snow Marine Park in Rockland's south end with the spoils. This would elevate the height above sea level of the park by a certain amount. The second would cap the now filled-to-capacity Rockland Quarry Dump with the spoils, over which a sodded surface would be planted
However Nature has reasserted Herself. The waters that formerly flowed down slope through the South End as a stream into the cove now disperses itself through the filled-in spoils, upwelling as significant wetlands across the north end of the park, making that area off limits and apparently reducing the available area to too small for the spoils . In addition the city councilmembers seem to oppose topping a public park with sediments tainted with lead, cadmium PCBs and other toxins
* Snow Marine Park was created by filling an intertidal cove with dredge spoils - about half a century ago. (From where?)
3. Back to the bay! On July 27, 2017, Army Corps' Charles Farris sent an email to two other Corps officials and Bud Brown the rep of EcoAnalysts Inc . The short message:
"Here is the final sampling plan for the Rockland Fish Pier. Please contact me with any questions."
Norm"

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