Water Resource Development Act

 

LEGISLATION

 


Introduction

          Through the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972, Congress sought to regulate, and in some instances prohibit, the dumping of materials into ocean waters. In the mid-1980s, concerns over the dumping of dredge materials at the "Mud Dump Site," an area approximately 5 miles off the coast of Sandy Hook, New Jersey, led Congress to enact Section 211 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986. That section directed the Environmental Protection Agency to prepare a study to determine a new area  for the dumping of dredged materials formerly dumped at the Mud Dump Site.

          In 1989, public concern increased over continued dumping at the Mud Dump Site and over other unregulated waste dumping off the New York and New Jersey shores (including some sporadic yet highly-publicized episodes of offshore dumping of medical wastes). This led Congress to revise the  procedures for discontinuing dumping at the Mud Dump Site. To that effect, through the Water Resources Development Act of 1990, Congress repealed section 211 of the previous Act and mandated the quick preparation of a final report for finding an alternative to the Mud Dump Site, one that was at least 20 miles off the shore of New Jersey. The 1990 Act also mandated the preparation of a plan for the long-term disposal of dredged material from the New York/New Jersey Harbor region, including the increased use of decontamination technologies and the possibilities of non-ocean disposal of such material. Finally, the 1990 Act required the implementation of a demonstration project that would test such environmentally-friendly alternatives. This planning phase proceeded successfully, and in 1992 Congress enacted the Water Resources Development Act of 1992, which authorized the Environmental Protection Agency, with the cooperation of the Army Corps of Engineers, to review the decontamination technologies recommended pursuant to the 1990 Act and select the best technologies to clean dredged material from New York and New Jersey harbors. Later, Congress enacted the Water Resources Development Act of 1996 in order to begin a pilot program that would implement these decontamination technologies. This program is continuing today, and is on a course toward the preparation of a final report in late 1998.

Documentation of the Water Resources Development Act

 
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