Published May 1, 2019
Expiration date: 5/31/2019

May 1, 2019


SUBJECT:  Norfolk Harbor Navigation Improvements Project, Thimble Shoals Channel – West – Proposed New Work Dredging, Transport, and Placement at Dam Neck Ocean Disposal Site.

Pursuant to Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) of 1972, this Public Notice serves as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District (Corps) notification relating to proposed placement of suitable dredged material at Dam Neck Ocean Disposal Site (DNODS). The DNODS was designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) pursuant to Section 102(c) of MPRSA for the ocean placement of suitable dredged material. The final rule was promulgated by EPA on March 31, 1988 (FR. Vol. 53 No. 62), effective March 31, 2988.  Dredged material proposed for transport for the purpose of discharge in ocean waters must be evaluated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in accordance with part 227 of MPRSA, Section 103 and processed in accordance with 33 CFR 324.  The use of DNODS is contingent upon U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 3 review and concurrence that the dredged material meets MPRSA criteria (40 CFR 227).

ACTIVITY:  Approximately 8 million cubic yards (MCY) of maintenance and new work dredged material from the Norfolk Harbor Navigation Improvements Project, Thimble Shoal Channel – West, is proposed for dredging, transport, and placement at the Dam Neck Ocean Disposal Site (DNODS).  The anticipated construction duration is approximately 970 days.  Following initial construction of the channel, maintenance dredging is expected to be required every 2 to 3 years and remove approximately 800,000 cubic yards per cycle during the maintenance phase of the project.

LOCATION:  This segment of the Thimble Shoals Channel is located to the west of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.  The DNODS boundary coordinates are as follows:

36°51’24.1”N., 75°54’41.4”W.,
36°51’24.1”N., 75°53’02.9”W.,
36°46’27.4”N., 75°51’39.2”W.,
36°46’27.5”N., 75°54’19.0”W.,
36°50’05.0”N. 75°54’19.0”W.

The DNODS has an area of about 9-square nautical miles (nm) located in federal waters due east of the Dam Neck / Virginia Beach section of the Virginia coast and approximately 7nm south and east of the Chesapeake Bay. Water depth within DNODS averages about 40 feet. Current use of the site for placement of dredged material from maintenance dredging indicates that approximately 1.2 MCY of maintenance dredged material from authorized federal navigation channels will be placed in the site every two years. Improvements of federal navigation channels (i.e. deepening and/or widening projects) may result in the dredging, transport, and placement of approximately 5 MCY per year during construction.

The DNODS has been in use since 1967 when the Corps initially deepened Thimble Shoal Channel to 45 feet. Since that time, all new work and maintenance dredged material from Cape Henry Channel and Thimble Shoal Channel, with limited exceptions, have been deposited at the DNODS. The Cape Henry Channel and Thimble Shoals Channel are maintenance dredged approximately every 2 to 3 years and the DNODS is utilized for placement of suitable dredged material.  The Thimble Shoals Channel was last dredged during the period 26 April through 31 August 2017 removing approximately 1,098,514 cubic yards.  There have been no documented effects from the authorized discharges that have been made in the placement area.

Sediments proposed for maintenance and new work dredging to provide safe navigation for vessels utilizing the channel consists native geologic formation and alluvium materials. Grain size of the dredged material in the channel is variable from west to east with predominantly silt and clay material in the west reach of the channel transitioning to a mixture of fine sands, silts and clays in the east reach of the channel. The dredged material proposed for placement at DNODS does not meet the testing exclusionary criteria set forth under 40 CFR 227.13(b). Subsequent dredged material testing detected the presence of ammonia, cyanide, metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and chlorinated pesticides. Dredged material was tested for liquid phase, suspended particulate phase, and solid phases using criteria and procedures developed by the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in accordance with 40 CFR 220-228. Evaluation of the liquid phase has determined the material complies with the Limiting Permissible Concentration (LPC) and is in compliance with 40 CFR 227.6(c)(1) and 227.27(a)(1). Evaluation of the liquid and suspended particulate phase has determined the material complies with the LPC and is in compliance with 40 CFR 227.6(c)(2) and 227.27(b).  Evaluation of the solid phase has determined the material complies with the LPC and is in compliance with 40 CFR 227.13(c)(3), 227.6(c)(3) and 227.27(b). Accordingly, the proposed dredged material from the Norfolk Harbor Navigation Improvements Project, Thimble Shoals Channel - West meets the MPRSA criteria (40 CFR 227).

ENVIRONMENTAL DOCUMENTATION:  The environmental impacts of the Norfolk Harbor Navigation Improvements have been evaluated in National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and regulatory documents including: (1) the Final General Reevaluation Report and Final Environmental Assessment/Finding of No Significant Impact dated June 2018; and (2) the Finding of No Significant Impact was executed on 16 October 2018.

COMMENT PERIOD:  Comments on this project should be in writing and can be sent by either email to Shannon.J.Reinheimer@usace.army.mil, or by regular mail, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN: Shannon Reinheimer, CENAO-WR-O), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia  23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business on May 31, 2019.

PRIVACY & CONFIDENTIALITY:  Comments and information, including the identity of the submitter, submitted in response to this Public Notice may be disclosed, reproduced, and distributed at the discretion of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Information that is submitted in connection with this Public Notice cannot be maintained as confidential by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Submissions should not include any information that the submitter seeks to preserve as confidential.

If you have any questions about this project, contact Shannon Reinheimer at 757-201-7074 or by email at Shannon.J.Reinheimer@usace.army.mil.

Attachment: Thimble Shoal Channel - West Overview Map