March 03, 2021
FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE
SUBJECT: Norfolk Harbor Navigation Improvements Project, Sewells Point to Lamberts Bend Channel – Proposed Maintenance and New Work Dredging, Transport, and Alternative Placement at Norfolk Ocean Disposal Site (NODS).
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 the Norfolk Ocean Disposal Site (NODS). The NODS 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 July 2, 1993 (FR. Vol. 58 No. 126), effective July 2, 1993. 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 NODS 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 12.1 million cubic yards (MCY) of maintenance and new work dredged material from the Norfolk Harbor Navigation Improvements Project, Sewells Point to Lamberts Bend Channel (SPLB), was evaluated to determine compliance with the criteria in Part 227 of MPRSA, Section 103. The Norfolk Harbor Navigation Improvements Project, SPLB dredged material is proposed for placement at the Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area (CIDMMA). The dredging, transport, and placement at the NODS will be an alternative placement site for suitable dredged material if needed to maintain navigation or if the CIDMMA is unavailable for placement of dredged material. The anticipated construction duration is approximately 730 days. Following initial construction of the channel, maintenance dredging is expected to be required annually and remove approximately 1,000,000 cubic yards per cycle during the maintenance phase of the project.
LOCATION: The Sewells Point to Lamberts Bend Channel is located in the city of Norfolk starting from the -60 ft Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) existing contour in the vicinity of Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and extends approximately 8 statute miles to Lamberts Bend, varying in width between 800 and 1,200 ft. The elements of this channel consist of the Craney Island Reach, Norfolk Harbor Reach, and the Entrance Reach in the inner harbor. The NODS is located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 17 statute miles east of Cape Henry. The center point coordinate of the NODS is latitude 36°59’00” North and longitude 75°39’00” West. The site is circular with a radius of 4 nautical miles and has an area of approximately 50 square nautical miles. Water depth within the NODS ranges from -42 to -85 ft MLLW. The site has unlimited capacity and is designated to provide capacity for long-term management of dredged material from the lower Chesapeake Bay and suitable materials from Norfolk Harbor (USEPA 1992). Any dredged material that passes ocean placement criteria may be placed at the NODS.
Prior to 2008, the only prior use of the NODS was by the U.S. Navy in August 1993. Approximately 51,000 cubic yards (cy) of dredged material from the Naval Supply Center Cheatham Annex and 475,000 cy of dredged material from the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown were placed at the site. Since 2010, other projects that have been recently placed at the NODS include the VDOT-Midtown Tunnel (1,121,642 cy placed October 2013 to October 2014), Joint Base Langley Eustis (JBLE) Skiffes Creek Channel (128,244 cy placed November 2014 to December 2014), JBLE-Fuel Pier Basin (57,122 cy placed February 2019 to July 2019), and the JBLE-Back River Channel (125,723 cy placed February 2019 to July 2019). Since 2009, additional projects have received authorization to place dredged material at the NODS including the Craney Island Eastward Expansion (CIEE) (24.5 million cubic yards), Norfolk Inner Harbor Channel 50-feet element (1 million cubic yards), Baltimore Harbor Upper Bay Approach Channels, Joint Base Langley Eustis – Fuel Pier Replacement Project, the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station (65,000 cubic yards), Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel – Parallel Thimble Shoals Tunnel Project (1.7 million cubic yards) and Langley Back River Project (125,723 cubic yards). There have been no documented effects from the authorized discharges that have been made in the placement area.
Sediments proposed for dredging consist of both maintenance and new work dredged material to support safe navigable depths in the Federal channel. Grain size of the dredged material in the channel is predominantly silt and clay material with a mix of sand and fines. The dredged material proposed for placement at NODS does not meet the testing exclusionary criteria set forth under 40 CFR 227.13(b). Subsequent dredged material testing detected the presence of metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxin/furan congeners and chlorinated pesticides in the bulk sediments from the SPLB channel.
Dredged material was tested for liquid phase, liquid and suspended particulate phase, and solid phase (e.g. benthic toxicity and benthic bioaccumulation) 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 benthic toxicity 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). Due to mortality of clams during the 28-day bioaccumulation exposure period, recoverable tissue mass was limited in replicates for two of the 27 dredging units (DU), DU8 and DU9. As a result, the LPC for benthic bioaccumulation could not be assessed and the USACE Norfolk District is not seeking USEPA review and concurrence for ocean placement for these two DUs. Therefore, with the exception of DU8 and DU9, the dredged material from SPLB meets the LPC for benthic bioaccumulation and complies with the benthic criteria of 40 CFR Part 227.13 (c) (3). The dredged material as described from the Norfolk Harbor Navigation Improvements Project, Sewells Point to Lamberts Bend Channel 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 JavierAnn.F.Wright@usace.army.mil, or by regular mail, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN: Javier Wright, CENAO-WR-O), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business on April 02, 2021.
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 Javier Wright at 757-201-7890 or by email at JavierAnn.F.Wright@usace.army.mil.
Attachment: Sewells Point to Lamberts Bend - Overview Map