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EPA Reaches Agreement With Dredging Company to Settle Violations of Ocean Dumping Act

Release Date: 01/25/2005
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For Immediate Release: Tuesday, January 25, 2005

(#05007) NEW YORK -- Continuing its work to ensure the protection of local waterways, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that it has reached a settlement with Bean Stuyvesant L.L.C. for two violations of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA), commonly known as the Ocean Dumping Act. The company had dumped dredged rock outside designated disposal areas on two occasions. Bean Stuyvesant agreed to pay $16,000 in penalties and undertake an environmentally-beneficial supplemental environmental project (SEP) valued at $104,000 to place materials into a federally authorized New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) artificial reef site located approximately 6.5 nautical miles offshore of Long Beach Island, New Jersey.

"EPA keeps a close eye on improper ocean disposal operations to make sure material is placed where it is supposed to go. This settlement will provide material needed to create artificial reefs that will enhance the fisheries and diversity of species in New Jersey's coastal waters. EPA is pleased that Bean sees this settlement as an opportunity to enhance and protect the ocean waters and public health," said Kathleen Callahan, EPA Acting Regional Administrator.

This SEP involves placement of no less than 1,300 tons of hollow concrete material, or 2,600 tons of solid concrete material into a NJDEP artificial reef. Bean Stuyvesant is already working closely with NJDEP artificial reef coordinators on the proper placement of the reef materials. Bean Stuyvesant is required to submit a final report to EPA, detailing its completion.

The first violation took place in December 2003, when a barge loaded with approximately 3,600 cubic yards of dredged rock departed from Bergen Point in the Kill an Kull headed for the NJDEP's Shark River Artificial Reef site. Rough seas and high winds were forecast at the time of departure but the decision was made by Bean Stuyvesant to proceed. On the way to the reef, bad weather forced the crew to attempt a return to the NY/NJ Harbor. According to the company, rock shifted within the barge, eventually causing it to flip and dump the rock into the ocean at an undesignated site. Placement of the rock outside the Shark River Artificial Reef was a violation of MPRSA.

In the second incident, also in December, Bean Stuyvesant dumped 3,600 cubic yards of dredged rock material approximately a half mile north of the Shark River Reef. As the barge approached the site, the Tug Captain noticed that it was rapidly leaning to one side. To avoid possible sinking or flipping, he dumped the rock. An inspection of the barge, once it returned to harbor, revealed that the hull had been punctured, most likely when the rock was loaded.

SEP's are intended to secure significant environmental and public health protection and improvements. Bean Stuyvesant agreed to perform this SEP to create a habitat that will become home to many fish and other marine life, without legally being required to do so. By undertaking this SEP, the company will advance the MPRSA objective to "protect human health, welfare, amenities, and the marine environment, ecological systems and economic potentialities."