Proposal: Regulatory agencies have yet to approve permits for disposal methods
Concerns: Humboldt Baykeeper as well as members of the public voice their worries
Maintenance dredging of public marinas, docks and boat launches in Humboldt Bay is set to take place this year, according to Miles Slattery of Eureka Parks and Recreation.
“This is still in the preliminary stages,” Slattery said. “The (Eureka City Council) said to move forward with a hybrid approach if it is approved by the regulatory agencies.”
The dredging proposals must still be approved by three regulatory agencies — the California Coastal Commission, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Humboldt Baykeeper Director Jennifer Kalt said no level of dioxins is safe, but in 2007, the city was allowed to dump the dredge materials on the beach during an emergency dredging situation. She said the toxins are known to cause cancer and reproductive damage in both humans and wildlife.
“From what we know, the city and Harbor District have not applied for any permits related to dredge spoils disposal and they need to take a much closer look at possible alternatives,” Kalt said. “Contaminants, specifically dioxins and PCBs, were detected in some areas slated for dredging in 2007. Those areas were not dredged to avoid contaminating the beach disposal site.”
Kalt also said that although the Army Corps of Engineers dredge up to three million cubic yards every year, that their spoils from the dredging are dumped at the Humboldt Open Ocean Disposal Site, which is 3 miles offshore.