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Title 40Chapter ISubchapter HPart 227 → Subpart B


Title 40: Protection of Environment
PART 227—CRITERIA FOR THE EVALUATION OF PERMIT APPLICATIONS FOR OCEAN DUMPING OF MATERIALS


Subpart B—Environmental Impact


Contents
§227.4   Criteria for evaluating environmental impact.
§227.5   Prohibited materials.
§227.6   Constituents prohibited as other than trace contaminants.
§227.7   Limits established for specific wastes or waste constituents.
§227.8   Limitations on the disposal rates of toxic wastes.
§227.9   Limitations on quantities of waste materials.
§227.10   Hazards to fishing, navigation, shorelines or beaches.
§227.11   Containerized wastes.
§227.12   Insoluble wastes.
§227.13   Dredged materials.

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§227.4   Criteria for evaluating environmental impact.

This subpart B sets specific environmental impact prohibitions, limits, and conditions for the dumping of materials into ocean waters. If the applicable prohibitions, limits, and conditions are satisfied, it is the determination of EPA that the proposed disposal will not unduly degrade or endanger the marine environment and that the disposal will present:

(a) No unacceptable adverse effects on human health and no significant damage to the resources of the marine environment;

(b) No unacceptable adverse effect on the marine ecosystem;

(c) No unacceptable adverse persistent or permanent effects due to the dumping of the particular volumes or concentrations of these materials; and

(d) No unacceptable adverse effect on the ocean for other uses as a result of direct environmental impact.

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§227.5   Prohibited materials.

The ocean dumping of the following materials will not be approved by EPA or the Corps of Engineers under any circumstances:

(a) High-level radioactive wastes as defined in §227.30;

(b) Materials in whatever form (including without limitation, solids, liquids, semi-liquids, gases or organisms) produced or used for radiological, chemical or biological warfare;

(c) Materials insufficiently described by the applicant in terms of their compositions and properties to permit application of the environmental impact criteria of this subpart B;

(d) Persistent inert synthetic or natural materials which may float or remain in suspension in the ocean in such a manner that they may interfere materially with fishing, navigation, or other legitimate uses of the ocean.

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§227.6   Constituents prohibited as other than trace contaminants.

(a) Subject to the exclusions of paragraphs (f), (g) and (h) of this section, the ocean dumping, or transportation for dumping, of materials containing the following constituents as other than trace contaminants will not be approved on other than an emergency basis:

(1) Organohalogen compounds;

(2) Mercury and mercury compounds;

(3) Cadmium and cadmium compounds;

(4) Oil of any kind or in any form, including but not limited to petroleum, oil sludge, oil refuse, crude oil, fuel oil, heavy diesel oil, lubricating oils, hydraulic fluids, and any mixtures containing these, transported for the purpose of dumping insofar as these are not regulated under the FWPCA;

(5) Known carcinogens, mutagens, or teratogens or materials suspected to be carcinogens, mutagens, or teratogens by responsible scientific opinion.

(b) These constituents will be considered to be present as trace contaminants only when they are present in materials otherwise acceptable for ocean dumping in such forms and amounts in liquid, suspended particulate, and solid phases that the dumping of the materials will not cause significant undesirable effects, including the possibility of danger associated with their bioaccumulation in marine organisms.

(c) The potential for significant undesirable effects due to the presence of these constituents shall be determined by application of results of bioassays on liquid, suspended particulate, and solid phases of wastes according to procedures acceptable to EPA, and for dredged material, acceptable to EPA and the Corps of Engineers. Materials shall be deemed environmentally acceptable for ocean dumping only when the following conditions are met:

(1) The liquid phase does not contain any of these constituents in concentrations which will exceed applicable marine water quality criteria after allowance for initial mixing; provided that mercury concentrations in the disposal site, after allowance for initial mixing, may exceed the average normal ambient concentrations of mercury in ocean waters at or near the dumping site which would be present in the absence of dumping, by not more than 50 percent; and

(2) Bioassay results on the suspended particulate phase of the waste do not indicate occurrence of significant mortality or significant adverse sublethal effects due to the dumping of wastes containing the constituents listed in paragraph (a) of this section. These bioassays shall be conducted with appropriate sensitive marine organisms as defined in §227.27(c) using procedures for suspended particulate phase bioassays approved by EPA, or, for dredged material, approved by EPA and the Corps of Engineers. Procedures approved for bioassays under this section will require exposure of organisms for a sufficient period of time and under appropriate conditions to provide reasonable assurance, based on consideration of the statistical significance of effects at the 95 percent confidence level, that, when the materials are dumped, no significant undesirable effects will occur due to chronic toxicity of the constituents listed in paragraph (a) of this section; and

(3) Bioassay results on the solid phase of the wastes do not indicate occurrence of significant mortality or significant adverse sublethal effects due to the dumping of wastes containing the constituents listed in paragraph (a) of this section. These bioassays shall be conducted with appropriate sensitive benthic marine organisms using benthic bioassay procedures approved by EPA, or, for dredged material, approved by EPA and the Corps of Engineers. Procedures approved for bioassays under this section will require exposure of organisms for a sufficient period of time to provide reasonable assurance, based on considerations of statistical significance of effects at the 95 percent confidence level, that, when the materials are dumped, no significant undesirable effects will occur due either to chronic toxicity or to bioaccumulation of the constituents listed in paragraph (a) of this section; and

(4) For persistent organohalogens not included in the applicable marine water quality criteria, bioassay results on the liquid phase of the waste show that such compounds are not present in concentrations large enough to cause significant undesirable effects due either to chronic toxicity or to bioaccumulation in marine organisms after allowance for initial mixing.

(d) When the Administrator, Regional Administrator or District Engineer, as the case may be, has reasonable cause to believe that a material proposed for ocean dumping contains compounds identified as carcinogens, mutagens, or teratogens for which criteria have not been included in the applicable marine water quality criteria, he may require special studies to be done prior to issuance of a permit to determine the impact of disposal on human health and/or marine ecosystems. Such studies must provide information comparable to that required under paragraph (c)(3) of this section.

(e) The criteria stated in paragraphs (c)(2) and (3) of this section are mandatory. The availability of acceptable procedures was announced in the Federal Register in 1991 and 1996.

(f) The prohibitions and limitations of this section do not apply to the constituents identified in paragraph (a) of this section when the applicant can demonstrate that such constituents are (1) present in the material only as chemical compounds or forms (e.g., inert insoluble solid materials) non-toxic to marine life and non-bioaccumulative in the marine environment upon disposal and thereafter, or (2) present in the material only as chemical compounds or forms which, at the time of dumping and thereafter, will be rapidly rendered non-toxic to marine life and non-bioaccumulative in the marine environment by chemical or biological degradation in the sea; provided they will not make edible marine organisms unpalatable; or will not endanger human health or that of domestic animals, fish, shellfish, or wildlife.

(g) The prohibitions and limitations of this section do not apply to the constituents identified in paragraph (a) of this section for the granting of research permits if the substances are rapidly rendered harmless by physical, chemical or biological processes in the sea; provided they will not make edible marine organisms unpalatable and will not endanger human health or that of domestic animals.

(h) The prohibitions and limitations of this section do not apply to the constituents identified in paragraph (a) of this section for the granting of permits for the transport of these substances for the purpose of incineration at sea if the applicant can demonstrate that the stack emissions consist of substances which are rapidly rendered harmless by physical, chemical or biological processes in the sea. Incinerator operations shall comply with requirements which will be established on a case-by-case basis.

[42 FR 2476, Jan. 11, 1977; 43 FR 1071, Jan. 6, 1978, as amended at 59 FR 26572, May 20, 1994; 59 FR 52652, Oct. 18, 1994; 73 FR 74987, Dec. 10, 2008]

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§227.7   Limits established for specific wastes or waste constituents.

Materials containing the following constituents must meet the additional limitations specified in this section to be deemed acceptable for ocean dumping:

(a) Liquid waste constituents immiscible with or slightly soluble in seawater, such as benzene, xylene, carbon disulfide and toluene, may be dumped only when they are present in the waste in concentrations below their solubility limits in seawater. This provision does not apply to materials which may interact with ocean water to form insoluble materials;

(b) Radioactive materials, other than those prohibited by §227.5, must be contained in accordance with the provisions of §227.11 to prevent their direct dispersion or dilution in ocean waters;

(c) Wastes containing living organisms may not be dumped if the organisms present would endanger human health or that of domestic animals, fish, shellfish and wildlife by:

(1) Extending the range of biological pests, viruses, pathogenic microorganisms or other agents capable of infesting, infecting or extensively and permanently altering the normal populations of organisms;

(2) Degrading uninfected areas; or

(3) Introducing viable species not indigenous to an area.

(d) In the dumping of wastes of highly acidic or alkaline nature into the ocean, consideration shall be given to:

(1) The effects of any change in acidity or alkalinity of the water at the disposal site; and

(2) The potential for synergistic effects or for the formation of toxic compounds at or near the disposal site. Allowance may be made in the permit conditions for the capability of ocean waters to neutralize acid or alkaline wastes; provided, however, that dumping conditions must be such that the average total alkalinity or total acidity of the ocean water after allowance for initial mixing, as defined in §227.29, may be changed, based on stoichiometric calculations, by no more than 10 percent during all dumping operations at a site to neutralize acid or alkaline wastes.

(e) Wastes containing biodegradable constituents, or constituents which consume oxygen in any fashion, may be dumped in the ocean only under conditions in which the dissolved oxygen after allowance for initial mixing, as defined in §227.29, will not be depressed by more than 25 percent below the normally anticipated ambient conditions in the disposal area at the time of dumping.

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§227.8   Limitations on the disposal rates of toxic wastes.

No wastes will be deemed acceptable for ocean dumping unless such wastes can be dumped so as not to exceed the limiting permissible concentration as defined in §227.27; Provided, That this §227.8 does not apply to those wastes for which specific criteria are established in §227.11 or §227.12. Total quantities of wastes dumped at a site may be limited as described in §228.8.

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§227.9   Limitations on quantities of waste materials.

Substances which may damage the ocean environment due to the quantities in which they are dumped, or which may seriously reduce amenities, may be dumped only when the quantities to be dumped at a single time and place are controlled to prevent long-term damage to the environment or to amenities.

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§227.10   Hazards to fishing, navigation, shorelines or beaches.

(a) Wastes which may present a serious obstacle to fishing or navigation may be dumped only at disposal sites and under conditions which will insure no unacceptable interference with fishing or navigation.

(b) Wastes which may present a hazard to shorelines or beaches may be dumped only at sites and under conditions which will insure no unacceptable danger to shorelines or beaches.

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§227.11   Containerized wastes.

(a) Wastes containerized solely for transport to the dumping site and expected to rupture or leak on impact or shortly thereafter must meet the appropriate requirements of §§227.6, 227.7, 227.8, 227.9, and 227.10.

(b) Other containerized wastes will be approved for dumping only under the following conditions:

(1) The materials to be disposed of decay, decompose or radiodecay to environmentally innocuous materials within the life expectancy of the containers and/or their inert matrix; and

(2) Materials to be dumped are present in such quantities and are of such nature that only short-term localized adverse effects will occur should the containers rupture at any time; and

(3) Containers are dumped at depths and locations where they will cause no threat to navigation, fishing, shorelines, or beaches.

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§227.12   Insoluble wastes.

(a) Solid wastes consisting of inert natural minerals or materials compatible with the ocean environment may be generally approved for ocean dumping provided they are insoluble above the applicable trace or limiting permissible concentrations and are rapidly and completely settleable, and they are of a particle size and density that they would be deposited or rapidly dispersed without damage to benthic, demersal, or pelagic biota.

(b) Persistent inert synthetic or natural materials which may float or remain in suspension in the ocean as prohibited in paragraph (d) of §227.5 may be dumped in the ocean only when they have been processed in such a fashion that they will sink to the bottom and remain in place.

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§227.13   Dredged materials.

(a) Dredged materials are bottom sediments or materials that have been dredged or excavated from the navigable waters of the United States, and their disposal into ocean waters is regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers using the criteria of applicable sections of parts 227 and 228. Dredged material consists primarily of natural sediments or materials which may be contaminated by municipal or industrial wastes or by runoff from terrestrial sources such as agricultural lands.

(b) Dredged material which meets the criteria set forth in the following paragraphs (b)(1), (2), or (3) of this section is environmentally acceptable for ocean dumping without further testing under this section:

(1) Dredged material is composed predominantly of sand, gravel, rock, or any other naturally occurring bottom material with particle sizes larger than silt, and the material is found in areas of high current or wave energy such as streams with large bed loads or coastal areas with shifting bars and channels; or

(2) Dredged material is for beach nourishment or restoration and is composed predominantly of sand, gravel or shell with particle sizes compatible with material on the receiving beaches; or

(3) When: (i) The material proposed for dumping is substantially the same as the substrate at the proposed disposal site; and

(ii) The site from which the material proposed for dumping is to be taken is far removed from known existing and historical sources of pollution so as to provide reasonable assurance that such material has not been contaminated by such pollution.

(c) When dredged material proposed for ocean dumping does not meet the criteria of paragraph (b) of this section, further testing of the liquid, suspended particulate, and solid phases, as defined in §227.32, is required. Based on the results of such testing, dredged material can be considered to be environmentally acceptable for ocean dumping only under the following conditions:

(1) The material is in compliance with the requirements of §227.6; and

(2)(i) All major constituents of the liquid phase are in compliance with the applicable marine water quality criteria after allowance for initial mixing; or

(ii) When the liquid phase contains major constituents not included in the applicable marine water quality criteria, or there is reason to suspect synergistic effects of certain contaminants, bioassays on the liquid phase of the dredged material show that it can be discharged so as not to exceed the limiting permissible concentration as defined in paragraph (a) of §227.27; and

(3) Bioassays on the suspended particulate and solid phases show that it can be discharged so as not to exceed the limiting permissible concentration as defined in paragraph (b) of §227.27.

(d) For the purposes of paragraph (c)(2) of this section, major constituents to be analyzed in the liquid phase are those deemed critical by the District Engineer, after evaluating and considering any comments received from the Regional Administrator, and considering known sources of discharges in the area.

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