Disposal at sea publications

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The Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) Disposal at Sea Program reports annually on its activities to the International Maritime Organization. The Program also informs Canada's Parliament through input to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) Annual Report available through the CEPA Environmental Registry.

Information bulletins

Consultation documents

Discussion Paper on Disposal at Sea Permit Fees for Dredging and Excavation Operations

This paper discusses ways of modifying the permit fees to reduce the costs for clients that carry out routine dredging or excavation and to set a maximum level for the fees. The first proposal is the introduction of an annual fee cap for disposal at sea permits for maintenance dredging and excavation operations. The second proposal involves a multi-year permit fee for maintenance dredging and excavation.

Report on Consultations on Cost Recovery Review and Boundaries of the Sea

This document summarizes both the results of public meetings and written responses received during public consultations conducted by ECCC in 2002-2003. The consultations focused on two issues. First was a three year review of the disposal site monitoring fees charged for disposal at sea permits for dredged material and excavated till. The second was ECCC's proposal for a method to determine the landward boundaries of application of the disposal at sea provisions of the CEPA.

Public Consultation Paper on Boundaries of the Sea for the Ocean Disposal Program

This document outlines proposals for a process to be used in setting boundary lines between the sea and freshwater for the purposes of the Disposal at Sea Program. In particular this process will be considered as it applies to setting the boundary in major estuaries Consideration will also be given to how the process would work for areas of brackish water.

Public consultations occurred in the winter 2003. A consultation report has been prepared.

Review of the Monitoring Fee for the Disposal at Sea Program

In 1999, ECCC implemented a permit fee for the disposal at sea of dredged and excavated material at a rate of $470 per 1,000 cubic metres. The fee was estimated to be the fair market value of the right or privilege of permitting access to suitable disposal sites under the CEPA, 1999. A key commitment by ECCC to the regulated community was to review the fee three years after its implementation.

This paper focuses on the issue of cost recovery through monitoring fees and presents an analysis of the fees paid, who paid them, how they have been spent, and an update on the costs of disposal site monitoring.

Public consultations occurred in the winter 2003 and a consultation report prepared.

Application forms and Notice of application

Application forms

To be completed using compatible word-processing software, printed out, and submitted with supporting documents to your nearest Disposal at Sea Program regional office.

Alternatively, hard copies of the application form for a Disposal at Sea permit may be obtained from your nearest Disposal at Sea Program regional office.

Notice of application

The application must contain proof that a notice of application was published in a newspaper of general circulation in the vicinity of the proposed loading and disposal activities to satisfy CEPA requirements.

Disposal at sea permit examples

Examples of permits issued by ECCC as published on the CEPA Environmental Registry

Technical guidance documents and monitoring guidelines

National Guidelines for Monitoring Dredged and Excavated Material at Ocean Disposal Sites

This document provides advice to managers and professionals on developing and implementing monitoring projects at disposal at sea sites that receive dredged and excavated material. Issues discussed include:

  • triggers to monitoring
  • developing monitoring plans
  • study design
  • data analysis
  • biological assessment tools.

Technical Guidance for Physical Monitoring at Ocean Disposal Sites

This document provides advice to managers and professionals on developing and implementing monitoring projects at ocean disposal sites that receive dredged and excavated material. Technical guidance is provided on:

  • positioning equipment
  • sampling equipment
  • techniques for direct observation of disposal sites and defining their boundaries
  • sediment transport models to predict short-term and long-term effects.

Guidance Document on Collection and Preparation of Sediments for Physicochemical Characterization and Biological Testing 

This document describes methods recommended by ECCC for the selection of sampling stations within a study site, and the collection, handling, storage, transportation, and manipulation of samples of whole sediments from marine, estuarine, and freshwater environments, for the purposes of physicochemical characterization and/or biological assessment using whole sediments, pore waters, or sediment elutriates.

Sediment quality guidelines

Canadian Sediment Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Life

These guidelines are developed for individual chemicals for both freshwater and marine (including estuarine) sediments by the Water Quality Guidelines Task Group of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. ECCC's National Guidelines and Standards Office is the technical secretariat for the Task Group. These guidelines are numerical limits or narrative statements recommended to support and maintain aquatic life associated with bed sediments and are developed from the available scientific information on the biological effects of sediment-associated chemicals.

Pollution gradient study

Report on Biological Toxicity Tests Using Pollution Gradient Studies: Sydney Harbour

The study was conducted by ECCC to assess tools used for permit assessment. Biological toxicity tests, chemistry, and benthic community structure were examined along a known pollution gradient in Sydney Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada. Major contaminants were polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, and heavy metals.

Biological test methods

ECCC has developed a series of biological test methods to measure various effects in sediments and porewater such as survival, growth and reproduction and bioaccumulation. Test results are interpreted according to interim interpretation criteria. These tests are required in the permit application phase when chemical measurements indicate the Lower Action Levels of the National Action List are exceeded. As well, these methods are used in monitoring to confirm predictions of no significant biological impacts arising from disposal at sea.

The following method can be ordered by contacting your nearest Disposal at Sea Program regional office or the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

US EPA, 1993. Guidance manual: bedded sediment bioaccumulation tests. US EPA. September 1993. EPA/600/R-93/183.

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