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Region 1: EPA New England

Eastern Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Sites

There are four dredged material disposal sites in Long Island Sound, all located in Connecticut state waters and spread from west to east at roughly equal distances: Western Long Island Sound, Central Long Island Sound , Cornfield Shoals, and New London. The Western and Central Long Island Sound disposal sites were designated for long-term use by EPA as "Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Sites" (ODMDS) on June 5, 2005. The Cornfield Shoals and New London disposal sites were selected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for short-term use and are due to close on December 16, 2016.

Periodic dredging and, therefore, dredged material disposal or placement are essential for ensuring safe navigation and facilitating marine commerce. If alternatives to open-water disposal are not available or feasible, EPA believes it's preferable to dispose of dredged material in only a few discrete locations so that it can be more easily managed and monitored to reduce potential adverse impacts on the surrounding marine environment. With the continuing need for dredged material disposal sites, and the impending expiration of the short-term site selections by the Corps for two of the four dredged material disposal sites in Long Island Sound, EPA and the USACE will be pursuing designation of one or more long-term disposal site to serve the eastern region of Long Island Sound. A Notice of Intent to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Designation of Dredged Material Disposal Sites in Eastern Long Island Sound was published with the Federal Register on October 16, 2012.

The Cornfield Shoals and New London disposal sites are closing because of a 1992 amendment to the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) that, for the first time, established a time limit on the availability of Corps-selected sites for disposal activity. The provision allows the selected site to be used for a five-year period beginning with the first disposal activity after the effective date of the provision – October 31, 1992 – and for an additional five-year period beginning with the first disposal activity commencing after completion of the first five-year period. Use of the site can, however, be extended if the site is designated by EPA for long-term use. Thus, the Corps can select disposal sites only for short-term, limited use, whereas Congress authorized EPA to undertake long-term site designations, subject to ongoing monitoring requirements to ensure the sites remain environmentally sound.

EPA and the USACE share management and monitoring responsibilities for these disposal sites. The USACE conducts the majority of the monitoring through its longstanding Disposal Area Monitoring System (DAMOS), and provides technical reports on the results of its monitoring efforts which can be found on the USACE website. Click icon for EPA disclaimer.

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