Dredging and dredge spoils in Maine are regulated by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the US Army Corps of Engineers.  Dredge spoils end up either on land or out to sea in designated sites offshore. In either case, analytical testing for pollutants before disposal is required.  Maine Environmental Laboratory is certified to perform testing for regulatory compliance for dredge spoils.

Maine Solid Waste Management Rules Chapter 419 (page 7-8; link below) describes required testing for the use of dredge spoils as construction fill:

A. Reduced Procedure Beneficial Use of De-watered Dredge Material As Fill Standards

(1) Dredge material permitted for use under this section must be used in a non-residential setting and be completely and permanently covered by a concrete or asphalt paved surface, or by 6 inches of a compacted soil material.

(2) In order to characterize dredge material intended for beneficial use, representative samples shall be collected and analyzed prior to dredging in conformance with EPA-SW 846. A minimum of 4 samples per site or one sample per acre shall be collected unless an alternative sampling plan is otherwise approved by the Department; information on sediment depth represented by each sample shall be provided. Composite samples for analysis may be approved by the Department on a case-by-case basis. Analysis must be for the following parameters:

(a) Total metals (mg/kg dry wgt.) including Arsenic (As), Cadmium (Cd), Chromium (Cr), Lead (Pb), Mercury (Hg).

(b) Semi-volatiles listed in §5.A(3) below (mg/kg dry weight).

(c) PCBs and dioxin TEQ unless otherwise approved by the Department, and organopesticides from commercial and agricultural ponds greater than 1/4 acre (mg/kg dry weight).

(d) Other parameters as required by the Department.

(3) Dewatered dredge material which are non-hazardous and which contain constituent levels less than the following levels may be beneficially used in accordance with the provisions of this section:

Arsenic (As) < 29 mg/kg
Cadmium (Cd) < 8.0mg/kg
Chromium (Cr+6) < 38 mg/kg
Lead (Pb) < 800 mg/kg
Mercury (Hg) <60 mg/kg
Benz[a]anthracene <2.0 mg/kg
Benzo[b]fluoranthene <5.0 mg/kg
Benzo[k]fluoranthene <49.0 mg/kg
Benzo[a]pyrene <8.0 mg/kg
Chrysene <160 mg/kg
Dibenz[a,h]anthracene <2.0 mg/kg
Indeno[1,2,3-c,d]pyrene <14.0 mg/kg
PCB < 0.74 mg/kg
Dioxin TEQ <16 pg/g

(4) Total chromium or lead levels exceeding 100 mg/kg, or mercury levels exceeding 4 mg/kg indicate that the dredge material may be hazardous waste. Further analysis of those parameters for TCLP is necessary.

(5) Any non-hazardous dredge material with constituent levels exceeding those in paragraph (3) of this subsection by less than a factor of two may be beneficially used as construction fill provided that the dredge material are combined with borrow material at a proportion which will lower the contaminant levels below the levels in paragraph (3).


Maine DEP Overview or Dredging Regulations and Sampling Protocol in Maine: Issue Profile: Applications to Dredge or to Dispose of Dredged Material in Coastal Waters

Maine Solid Waste Management Rules- Chapter 418, Beneficial Use of Solid Wastes: https://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/06/096/096c418.docx

DEP Application for Reduced Procedures Application for Beneficial Use of Dredge Material: https://www1.maine.gov/dep/waste/solidwaste/documents/418rpdrm.pdf

Maine Natural Resources Protection Act (NRPA) homepage on the Maine DEP site: http://maine.gov/dep/land/nrpa/index.html  and good overview of NRPA: http://maine.gov/dep/land/nrpa/ip-nrpa.html

A NRPA permit may be required for "dredging, bulldozing, removing or displacing soil, sand, vegetation or other materials; draining or otherwise dewatering; filling, including adding sand or other material to a sand dune; or any construction, repair or alteration of any permanent structure..."  See the NRPA Permit Application here: https://www1.maine.gov/dep/land/nrpa/nrpabook.pdf


Regional Overview

About Ocean Dumping in EPA Region 1 (New England)

Dredging in Portland harbor, 2004. [Photo from www.dredgingcontractors.org]

Dredging in Portland harbor, 2004. [Photo from www.dredgingcontractors.org]


Dredge disposal site 10 miles off Portland, Maine.  Photo links to EPA Region 1 "Site Management and Monitoring Plan" (pdf)