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U.S. EPA PROPOSES AN OCEAN DISPOSAL SITE FOR HUMBOLDT BAY

Release Date: 4/24/1995
Contact Information: Arnold Robbins, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1486

    (San Francisco)--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(U.S. EPA) has released a draft environmental impact statement
(EIS) and a proposed rule to designate an ocean disposal site for
material dredged from Humboldt Bay.  The dredging is needed to
keep the bay clear for marine traffic and to sustain economic
growth of the Humboldt Bay region.


     "We encourage the public to comment on this draft proposal,"
said Alexis Strauss, U.S. EPA regional water management division
director.  "After much deliberation and study, we believe that
disposal at this site will result in minimal impacts upon ocean
life."


     Under the Water Resources Development Act of 1992, the U.S.
EPA is required to designate a final disposal site for dredge
materials from the Bay.  The Humboldt Open Ocean Disposal Site or
HOODS -- one of seven alternatives considered -- was chosen as
the preferred site for permanent disposal because it is located
in deep waters, away from productive fishery areas, and in an
area that is already being used for disposal of sediments from
the annual maintenance dredging of Humboldt Bay.  HOODS is
located on the continental shelf off Humboldt Bay between three
and four nautical miles from shore and in 160 to 180 feet of
water.
 
    No industrial or municipal waste would be disposed of at the
site, and any dredged materials proposed to be placed there must
be tested and approved for disposal by the U.S. EPA and the Corp
of Engineers to ensure that it would not contain chemicals that
pose threats to marine life or human health.


     HOODS is expected to have insignificant impact upon fish,
birds, marine mammals, threatened and endangered species, and
marine sanctuaries.  Similarly, potential impacts to commercial
and recreational fishing and military and commercial shipping are
expected to be insignificant due to the distance offshore and
minimal resource use of this area.


       An open ocean disposal site option is necessary to handle
the 800,000 cubic yards of dredged materials generated annually
from maintenance dredging as well as new work projects in
Humboldt Bay.  Other options, such as placement of dredged
materials in a landfill, do not have enough capacity to
exclusively handle the annual volumes of dredged materials from
Humboldt Bay.
   
    Comments on the draft EIS and proposed rule must be received
no later than June 5, 1995.  They should be sent to:


                    Alexis Strauss, Director
                   Water Management Division
                   U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                   75 Hawthorne St. (W-1)
                   San Francisco, CA  94105


     Copies of the draft EIS and proposed rule can be viewed at
the following locations:


Humboldt Bay Harbor           Humboldt County Library
Recreation and Conservation   421 I Street
District                      Eureka, CA
601 Startare Drive
Eureka, CA


Arcata City Library           Humboldt State University Library
500 - 7th Street              Arcata, CA
Arcata, CA


EPA Public Information        U.S. Environmental Protection
Reference Unit (PIRU)         Agency - Region 9
Room 2904 (rear)              Library
401 M Street SW               75 Hawthorne Street, 13th Floor
Washington, DC                San Francisco, CA



     Copies of the draft EIS, proposed rule, and further
information may be obtained from:


                    Allan Ota
                   Watershed Protection Branch, (W-3)
                   U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                   75 Hawthorne St.
                   San Francisco, CA  94105
                   (415) 744-1980



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