Seaports Magazine - Spring 2016 - (Page 39)

» GUEST VIEWPOINT Dredged Material Disposal: 5 Ways to Expedite Federal Approval By Gen. (Ret) Richard Capka, Linda Morrison & Elizabeth Fagot W ithout dredging, ports and terminals cannot maintain necessary water depths, which is a problem when trying to accommodate large vessels involved with overseas commerce. Yet for many port officials, the detailed and often complex planning necessary for dredging is too easily ignored, which often leaves too little time to obtain the required permits. Dredging requires approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Corps has a complex evaluation procedure. In particular, federal approval usually hinges on the applicant having an adequate disposal plan, including disposal site, for dredged material. Yet ports are running out of commercially available dredge disposal options and this increasingly requires the use of Federal/ Port Placement Sites. Port and terminal users are competing with each other for scarce disposal sites, a competition that has become more acute due to the increased need for disposal capacity resulting from deepening federal navigation channels to accommodate post-Panamax ships. To take one example, the Corps of Engineers Galveston District recently advised that it had more than 200 applications for real estate easements, which would grant permission to use Federal/ Port Dredge Material Placement Sites for dredged material disposal. "Port and terminal users are competing with each other for scarce disposal sites, a competition that has become more acute." However, finding a place to store the dredged material is only one of several challenges. The dredging process itself requires a series of permits. These emerging dynamics demonstrate the importance of handling the federal permitting process effectively and efficiently. Much goes into this, but some rules stand out for their importance: up with an existing dredging contractor operating in the area? Finally, the real estate approval process, which can include obtaining an easement to use a federal placement site, normally takes a year or more, as that approval comes from Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C. #1 #2 Be clear about your disposal plan, including the siting and the quality of material to be dredged. Obviously, contaminated material will need special attention and permitting. The process to secure placement site approval is extensive and technical. Many projects face delays due to lack of a current survey of proposed dredge areas, incorrect cross-sections of proposed dredge areas and no estimate of the maximum dredge depth needed. Other issues: Which available disposal sites have capacity and can be used based on the material you are dredging? Have you identified all the potential disposal sites that could be used so that if one becomes available at a later point, you already have Corps approval? And are you able to link Understand the time parameters of a Corps approval. Corps dredging permits normally run for five years, though they may also have a 10-year maintenance dredge period. This is important because, although companies can file for extensions, if their application is submitted after the end of the maintenance period, the Corps is not allowed to approve the extension. #3 Understand your specific state and federal requirements. Your Corps District office should have a list of what is needed in a federal dredge permit application. This can vary depending on the district; in many states, it involves coordination with state officials. For example, Corps rules require SPRING 2016 * WWW.AAPASEAPORTS.COM 39 http://WWW.AAPASEAPORTS.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Spring 2016

AAPA Headquarters
From the President’s Desk
Port to Market: Building Infrastructure to Meet Demand
Turning on the Funding Tap
Seaports Maintenance and Modernization
Do Ports Know What’s Coming?
Surface Transportation System Enables Economic Prosperity
Dredged Material Disposal: 5 Ways to Expedite Federal Approval
The Importance of Infrastructure in the Cruise Industry
Index of Advertisers

Seaports Magazine - Spring 2016