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Dredged Material Management Program Dredged Material Management Program

Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands

Dredged Material Management in the Caribbean Region

As elsewhere, maintaining navigational depths of ports and harbors is crucial to regional economic well-being. However, in the Caribbean regions marine commerce has additional significance as the majority of products and materials are brought to the islands by ship. More than 80 percent of cargo entering or leaving Puerto Rico is handled through the port of San Juan.

The Dredged Material Management Team coordinates with harbor stakeholders to ensure that the growth and efficiency of Caribbean ports occurs in an environmentally sensitive manner. Together, EPA and its partners in the Caribbean try to identify and develop alternatives to oceanic dredge disposal in a capacity that might serve a beneficial use to the community.   The DMMT is involved with stakeholders in identifying and developing opportunities to use dredged material to engineer alternate cover and grading material at island landfills, construction fill and aggregate material. In addition, the DMMT is exploring the feasibility of restoring and creating shallow water submerged and emergent habitats using dredged material.

In addition, the Dredged Material Management Team works closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District Exit EPA disclaimer to evaluate the suitability of dredged material that is proposed for disposal at ocean disposal sites around Puerto Rico.

Ocean Disposal of Dredged Material in the Caribbean

5 ocean disposal sitesThere are five ocean disposal sites designated to receive dredged material from harbors in Puerto Rico. Designated sites include: the San Juan Harbor, PR, Dredged Material Site; the Yabucoa Harbor, PR, Dredged Material Site; the Arecibo Harbor, PR, Dredged Material Site; the Mayaguez Harbor, PR, Dredged Material Site; and the Ponce Harbor, PR, Dredged Material Site.



Disposal Site

Draw Area

Approved SMMPa?

Coordinates (NAD27)




Receiving Material?

San Juan Harbor ODMDS

Port of San Juan " 20 miles


Jan. 5, 1999

18o30'10"N, 66o09'31"W; 18o30'10"N, 66o08'29"W; 18o31'10"N, 66o09'31"W; 18o31'10"N, 66o08'29"W

200 - 400 m

1.4 nm north of shore


Arecibo ODMDS

Arecibo Harbor


18o31'00"N, 66o43'47"W; 18o31'00"N, 66o42'45"W; 18o30'00"N, 66o43'47"W; 18o30'00"N, 66o42'45"W

101 - 417 m

1.5 nm north of harbor


MayagŁez ODMDS

MayagŁez Harbor


18o15'30"N, 67o16'13"W; 18o15'30"N, 67o15'11"W; 18o14'30"N, 67o16'13"W; 18o14'30"N, 67o15'11"W

351 - 384 m

6 nm west of harbor



Ponce Harbor


17o54'00"N, 66o37'43"W; 17o54'00"N, 66o36'41"W; 17o53'00"N, 66o37'43"W; 17o53'00"N, 66o36'41"W

329 -457 m

4.5 nm south of harbor


Yabucoa ODMDS

Yabucoa Harbor


18o03'42"N, 65o42'49"W; 18o03'42"N, 65o41'47"W; 18o02'42"N, 65o42'49"W; 18o02'42"N, 65o41'47"W

549 - 914 m

4.5 nm east of shore


aSite monitoring and management plans (SMMPs) are required to be prepared for all designated sites before they may receive material.

The San Juan Harbor Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site is the only site for which a final Site Management and Monitoring Plan (SMMP) [PDF 280 KB, 23 pp] Exit EPA disclaimer currently exists and therefore is the only site that is currently receiving dredged material in the Caribbean.  The material currently being placed at this site results from the ongoing improvements of the Federal Navigation Project and the Rio Puerto Nuevo Flood Control Project that are being conducted within the San Juan Harbor complex by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District. Exit EPA disclaimer

Other Caribbean activities involving the Dredged Material Management Team

The DMMT coordinates with the San Juan Bay Estuary Program to try to further the implementation of the San Juan Bay Estuary Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan.

The DMMT is involved in ongoing discussions with Commonwealth resource agencies to establish an artificial reef program around Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Other Links:

U.S. Navy (Puerto Rico) Exit EPA disclaimer
USACE Jacksonville District Exit EPA disclaimer
USEPA Caribbean Environmental Protection Division (CEPD)

Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board
    Hector Martinez, Chairman (787) 767-8056  
    Water Quality Director: Roberto Ajala (787) 767-8073


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