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Dredging company fined for violations in Beverly Harbor

Posted by Sean Teehan  December 7, 2010 10:56 AM

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A Quincy company that allegedly dumped sediment into Beverly Harbor during a 2007-2008 dredging project in Danvers has agreed to a $50,000 settlement with federal and state agencies.

Cashman Dredging and Marine Contracting Co., LLC allegedly violated the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act (commonly known as the Ocean Dumping Act) while the company dredged the Porter and Crane rivers in Danvers, a statement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said.

According to EPA officials, a dive investigation conducted by the agency found the company dumped about 2,000 cubic yards of dredged sediment within Beverly Harbor. The area was outside the project's designated dumping area and harmed the aquatic environment, an EPA statement said.

"This area of the harbor is known to be spawning habitat for winter flounder and other species, the dumping of this fine silty mud into this area changes the nature of the bottom" an EPA spokeswoman said in a statement. "It degrades the quality of the habitat for spawning for winter flounder and other species."

Cashman also faced allegations of over-dredging in some areas, the statement said. 

“Jay Cashman, Inc. has agreed to settle the dispute over the dredging of the Porter and Crane Rivers and the accidental release of accepted materials into Beverly Harbor," a spokeswoman for Cashman said in a statement. "The company immediately notified state and local authorities, and cleaned up the materials at no cost to taxpayers."

An EPA spokeswoman agreed that the violation was self-reported.

In addition to the EPAs complaints, the state filed suit against the company for dredging and disposal violations, according to an EPA statement.

Attorney General Martha Coakley said valuable resources were compromised due to the company's actions.

“Here, Cashman’s alleged failure to carefully conduct its dredging activities damaged important fisheries habitat in Beverly Harbor," Coakley said in a statement.

According to the EPA, Cashman worked in a cooperative fashion with federal and state agencies in reaching the $50,000 settlement.

The $50,000 will fund the company's installation of "low impact" moorings in Beverly Harbor. The moorings, the EPA said, will recover eelgrass, which serves a wide range of ecological functions.

"JCI is pleased that the settlement will benefit the community by funding the installation of low impact moorings in Beverly Harbor," the Cashman spokeswoman said in a statement.

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