33 CFR Part 324
Permits for Ocean Dumping of Dredged Material

AUTHORITY: 33 U.S.C. 1413.


Section 324.1 - General.

This regulation prescribes in addition to the general policies of 33 CFR Part 320 and procedures of 33 CFR Part 325, those special policies, practices and procedures to be followed by the Corps of Engineers in connection with the review of applications for Department of the Army (DA) permits to authorize the transportation of dredged material by vessel or other vehicle for the purpose of dumping it in ocean waters at dumping sites designated under 40 CFR Part 228 pursuant to section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972, as amended (33 U.S.C. 1413) (hereinafter referred to as section 103). See 33 CFR 320.2(h). Activities involving the transportation of dredged material for the purpose of dumping in the ocean waters also require DA permits under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403) for the dredging in navigable waters of the United States. Applicants for DA permits under this Part should also refer to 33 CFR Part 322 to satisfy the requirements of Section 10.


Section 324.2 - Definitions.

For the purpose of this regulation, the following terms are defined:

  1. The term "ocean waters" means those waters of the open seas lying seaward of the base line from which the territorial sea is measured, as provided for in the Convention on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone (15 UST 1606: TIAS 5639).

  2. The term "dredged material" means any material excavated or dredged from navigable waters of the United States.

  3. The term "transport" or "transportation" refers to the conveyance and related handling of dredged material by a vessel or other vehicle.


Section 324.3 - Activities requiring permits.

  1. General. DA permits are required for the transportation of dredged material for the purpose of dumping it in ocean waters.

  2. Activities of Federal agencies.
    1. The transportation of dredged material for the purpose of disposal in ocean waters done by or on behalf of any Federal agency other than the activities of the Corps of Engineers is subject to the procedures of this regulation. Agreement for construction or engineering services performed for other agencies by the Corps of Engineers does not constitute authorization under these regulations. Division and district engineers will therefore advise Federal agencies accordingly and cooperate to the fullest extent in the expeditious processing of their applications. The activities of the Corps of Engineers that involve the transportation of dredged material for disposal in ocean waters are regulated by 33 CFR 209.145.
    2. The policy provisions set out in 33 CFR 320.4(j) relating to state or local authorizations do not apply to work or structures undertaken by Federal agencies, except where compliance with non-Federal authorization is required by Federal law or Executive policy. Federal agencies are responsible for conformance with such laws and policies. (See EO 12088, October 18, 1978.) Federal agencies are not required to obtain and provide certification of compliance with effluent limitations and water quality standards from state or interstate water pollution control agencies in connection with activities involving the transport of dredged material for dumping into ocean waters beyond the territorial sea.


324.4 Special procedures.

The Secretary of the Army has delegated to the Chief of Engineers the authority to issue or deny section 103 permits. The following additional procedures shall also be applicable under this regulation.

  1. Public notice. For all applications for section 103 permits, the district engineer will issue a public notice which shall contain the information specified in 33 CFR 325.3.

  2. Evaluation. Applications for permits for the transportation of dredged material for the purpose of dumping it in ocean waters will be evaluated to determine whether the proposed dumping will unreasonably degrade or endanger human health, welfare, amenities, or the marine environment, ecological systems or economic potentialities. District engineers will apply the criteria established by the Administrator of EPA pursuant to section 102 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 in making this evaluation. (See 40 CFR Parts 220-229) Where ocean dumping is determined to be necessary, the district engineer will, to the extent feasible, specify disposal sites using the recommendations of the Administrator pursuant to section 102(c) of the Act.

  3. EPA review. When the Regional Administrator, EPA, in accordance with 40 CFR 225.2(b), advises the district engineer, in writing, that the proposed dumping will comply with the criteria, the district engineer will complete his evaluation of the application under this part and 33 CFR Parts 320 and 325. If, however, the Regional Administrator advises the district engineer, in writing, that the proposed dumping does not comply with the criteria, the district engineer will proceed as follows:
    1. The district engineer will determine whether there is an economically feasible alternative method or site available other than the proposed ocean disposal site. If there are other feasible alternative methods or sites available, the district engineer will evaluate them in accordance with 33 CFR Parts 320, 322, 323, and 325 and this Part, as appropriate.
    2. If the district engineer determines that there is no economically feasible alternative method or site available, and the proposed project is otherwise found to be not contrary to the public interest, he will so advise the Regional Administrator setting forth his reasons for such determination. If the Regional Administrator has not removed his objection within 15 days, the district engineer will submit a report of his determination to the Chief of Engineers for further coordination with the Administrator, EPA, and decision. The report forwarding the case will contain the analysis of whether there are other economically feasible methods or sites available to dispose of the dredged material.

  4. Chief of Engineers review. The Chief of Engineers shall evaluate the permit application and make a decision to deny the permit or recommend its issuance. If the decision of the Chief of Engineers is that ocean dumping at the proposed disposal site is required because of the unavailability of economically feasible alternatives, he shall so certify and request that the Secretary of the Army seek a waiver from the Administrator, EPA, of the criteria or of the critical site designation in accordance with 40 CFR 225.4.
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