Under a recent settlement with EPA, Cashman Dredging & Marine Contracting Co., and the joint venture Cashman-Weeks NB, JV, will pay a penalty and perform additional measures for alleged violations of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA and also known as the Ocean Dumping Act).
EPA alleged that the companies violated the Ocean Dumping Act related to dredging projects they conducted in harbors in Portland, Maine and New Bedford, Mass. by not following authorizations for the dredging projects issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
Specifically, EPA alleged that dredged material was dumped at locations outside of the authorized ocean disposal sites. In the Portland dredging project, it was disposed approximately 1.4 miles from the designated coordinates; in New Bedford dredging projects, it was over 3 miles.
Under the settlement, Cashman will pay a penalty of $42,000 and implement an “Innovative Technology” Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP).
Cashman will under the SEP:
- purchase and install a GPS Interlock for Scow Barge Dumping (the “GeoFence”) on each of its five scows;
- subsequently collect data on the operation and performance of the GeoFence;
- draft a technical paper based on the collected data;
- give a presentation on the GeoFence at an industry conference;
- generally share information on its operation within the dredging industry.
The GeoFence is comprised of a small computer, a GPS, and a relay which will be custom installed on each of Cashman’s scows and which will be designed to track the current position of the scow relative to the MPRSA permitted dump site coordinates and it will prevent dumping until the scow is inside the permitted dump site coordinates, thus eliminating the element of human error, a common cause of MPRSA misdumping. In an emergency situation, the system can be overrode by key switch.
EPA and the USACE will continue to work closely with the dredging community to ensure that these practices are followed, and to seek improvements in the dredging process whenever possible, such as the GeoFence technology proposed in this case.