Aug 9, 2017

Penobscot Bay threatened AGAIN with offshore dumping of lead & PCB-laden dredge spoils

Is the US Army Corps of Engineers trying to fast track dumping of unacceptably contaminated sediments from the mainland into waters 3 miles off Vinalhaven?

The location for dumping sediment spoils dug up from the harbor floor has ping-ponged from the Rockland Disposal Site off the Fox Islands, onshore to Rockland's own Snow Marine Park and now back to the bay!

As we try to make sense of this Rockland Fishpier Dredge plan, here are some background documents and emails  to bring you up to speed.

EMAILS Discussions of the below documents, as well as about the now-dropped plan to land dump the spoils onto Snow Marine Park in Rockland,

2016 DOCUMENTS  Sediment test and Army Corp response

7/16/16 Army Corps of Engineers Suitability findings on Rockland Fishpier sediments  Quote:  "These sediments are not suitable for unconfined open water disposal at the Rockland Disposal Site (RDS) as proposed."

2017 DOCUMENTS Army Corps issues new plan for fishper dredge spoils  going to RDS



How we got where we are.  Above documents get  referred to below
1. July 6 2016, the Army Corps of Engineers rejects dumping fishpier dredge spoils into the Rockland Disposal Site - located between the Fox Islands and Rockland The Corps cites a toxic mix of wastes in the spoils Here are excerpts from their suitability findings on the spoils "
"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

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."

No comments: