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176 Concord Street, P.O. Box 22287, Charleston, SC 29413-2287
Contact: Erin Dhand, Manager, Corporate Communications and Community Affairs
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Dredge Fill to Cut Charleston Port Expansion Costs

Construction of the new Navy Base Terminal in Charleston will cost less and have fewer environmental impacts under a plan that has been approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The agency will approve a no cost, non-competitive lease, allowing the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) to bring in fill material from an ocean dredge disposal site for construction of the new Navy Base Terminal.

Using the material from the Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site (ODMDS), seven miles from the entrance to Charleston Harbor, is more effective from a cost, time and environmental perspective. It will save an estimated $40 million in construction costs, while also offering reduced environmental impacts when compared to bringing in material from either farther away or by truck.

“Using material from the ocean disposal site will generate significant cost savings and benefits,” said David J. Posek, chairman of the SCSPA. “Senator Graham, Congressman Brown and their staffs guided this through the appropriate channels, and we are very thankful for their help.”

“This a common sense decision to utilize existing resources for the benefit of the taxpayer,” said U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham. “It is fitting to take material dredged from the harbor for shipping and use it to benefit trade for the whole nation.”

“I'm pleased with the great progress on port construction since permits were issued last year,” said U.S. Congressman Henry Brown. “Port expansion is vital to every region in South Carolina, and this decision is one important step forward that will help keep the project on track. This is great news for the Navy Base Terminal, and I was proud to have worked with Senator Graham on this important effort.”

Permits for construction of the new terminal at the former Navy Base involve the filling of approximately 57 acres, which will require up to five million cubic yards of imported material. To reduce the impacts of truck delivery, the SCSPA has committed to bring at least 75% of fill by water. The SCSPA also plans to remove dredged material from its property on Daniel Island, just across the Cooper River.

The Charleston ODMDS has been in continuous use for dredge disposal activities since 1896. Most material from the construction and maintenance of the entrance channel leading to Charleston Harbor is deposited at this site. The material has already been tested and found suitable for ocean disposal and therefore is clean and good for use in construction.

The use of fill for creation of land for a container terminal is a true beneficial use of dredge material that meets dredge policies and goals of both the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The material cannot be used for beach nourishment or other potential beneficial purposes, and the removal of the material from the site will extend the useful life of the ODMDS.