Quincy Firm Fined by EPA for Illegal Dumping While Dredging Rivers in Town
A Quincy firm that finished dredging two rivers in town in 2008 has agreed to pay a fine and make improvements to Beverly Harbor to settle violations of the Ocean Dumping Act that occurred during that dredging project.
The Quincy firm that was hired to dredge the Porter and Crane rivers two years ago has agreed to pay a $50,000 fine and make some improvements to Beverly Harbor in the wake of illegally dumping dredged sediments in the ocean in violation of the Ocean Dumping Act.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which pursued an enforcement action against Cashman Dredging & Marine Contracting Co., LLC, announced the news yesterday.
The EPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state environmental authorities sought action against the Quincy firm after the EPA conducted a dive investigation of a dump area in Beverly Harbor. The investigation found Cashman performed a "short dump" of sediment in the harbor, well outside the authorized dumping zone in the Atlantic Ocean defined under a permit from the Army Corps.
Barges had to pass through the harbor on their way out to the Massachusetts Bay Disposal Site, which is 10 nautical miles south-southeast off Eastern Point in Gloucester and 18 nautical miles from the entrance to Boston Harbor. There were 58,000 cubic yards in all removed from the two rivers.
The firm says dumping the sediment in the harbor was accidental and the proper authorities were immediately notified. Cashman cleaned up the materials.
The EPA, however, says the dredged material dumped in the harbor harmed the natural aquatic environment. The EPA also claims Cashman dug up too much material in certain areas and took unauthorized sediments for disposal in the ocean disposal site, which is a circular area two nautical miles in diameter.
State authorities filed a separate suit against Cashman for illegal dredging and disposal violations under state law.
In addition to the fine, the firm will be installing low impact moorings in the harbor that will prevent turbidity and allow for eelgrass habitat recovery.
"When companies like Cashman perform work in the Commonwealth's sensitive wetlands and coastal ecosystems, they must comply with the permits issued by MassDEP for that work," said Attorney General Martha Coakley in a press statement. "Here, Cashman's alleged failure to carefully conduct its dredging activities damaged [an] important fisheries habitat in Beverly Harbor.