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PORT AUTHORITY AND NJDEPE REACH ACCORD ON MONITORING PROGRAM

 PORT AUTHORITY AND NJDEPE REACH ACCORD ON MONITORING PROGRAM
 NEW YORK, Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy (NJDEPE) have reached an accord on a monitoring program that measures sediments dispersed into the water from barge overflow during dredging operations.
 The monitoring program will be part of the Water Quality Certificate the NJDEPE has granted the Port Authority, which p?rerequisite for the receipt of a federal permit to dredge the berths at the Port Newark/Elizabeth Marine Terminal complex. The United States Army Corps of Engineers is currently considering an application to dredge from the Port Authority, and a decision on a permit is expected soon.
 Under the agreement, a condition of the permit will require that the dredging be conducted in a manner that prevents dredged material from overflowing the barges. NJDEPE and the Port Authority have agreed to add a research aspect to the project to determine the impacts of this condition for future dredging work. The monitoring and research will be overseen by a panel of scientists agreed to by the agencies and chaired by Dr. Robert Tucker, NJDEPE's director of science and research.
 Port Authority Executive Director Stanley Brezenoff, in announcing the agreement today, said, "This monitoring program, developed jointly by staff of NJDEPE and the Port Authority, has had extensive input from the scientific, academic, environmental and engineering communities. All involved are striving to apply scientifically sound and economically feasible management methods to the ongoing dredging program that provides our Port with the berth depths necessary to attract major shipping lines and keep us competitive with other ports."
 Mr. Brezenoff continued, "We look forward to working with New Jersey DEPE Commissioner Scott Weiner and his staff as we implement the program and analyze the results."
 Berths at the Port Newark/Elizabeth Marine Complex have not been dredged in over two years while the federal application process has been under way. Siltation can add up to a foot a year to berth depth. Because preliminary testing revealed the presence of trace levels of dioxin in the water, a series of management protocols was developed by the Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
 The Army Corps held public hearings last February on the Port Authority's permit application. According to guidelines recommended by the Corps, upon receipt of a permit, the Port Authority would dredge the berths, place the dredged material on barges, and relocate it to a site in the ocean six miles off Sandy Hook, known as the Mud Dump Site, where it would be covered, or capped, with suitable material such as sand. The Mud Dump is monitored by the Army Corps based on standards developed by the EPA.
 Lillian Liburdi, director of the bistate agency's Port Department, said, "Dredging will always be necessary. We are a river port and have a natural depth of only 15 to 19 feet. We need a depth of 40 feet for most cargo vessels. The issues we confront related to the handling, management and disposal of dredged material will be with us for years to come. Commissioner Weiner's leadership in forging a coalition to address the issues in a responsible, foresighted manner is greatly appreciated. Working together, we have built a strong foundation for ongoing dialogue and partnership."
 The regional economic impact of the Port of New York and New Jersey in 1991 included generating $20 billion in total economic activity, $5.6 billion in salaries and wages, 180,000 direct and indirect jobs, and a 2.4 percent share of the gross regional product. In 1991, the Port handled 11.9 million long tons of oceanborne general cargo worth $45 billion. Nearly 100 different shipping lines call regularly at the port.
 -0- 10/21/92
 /CONTACT: Mark Marchese, director - Office of Media Relations of the Port Authority, 212-435-7777 (24 hours) or 201-961-6600, ext. 7777/ CO: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; The New Jersey
 Department of Environmental Protection and Energy ST: New Jersey, New York IN: SU:


GK-AH -- NY109 -- 3110 10/21/92 16:43 EDT
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Date:Oct 21, 1992
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