The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a plan to move silt and sediment from Bridgeport’s Harbor to the New Haven Harbor. But some city residents are doing their best to keep that from happening.
New Haven Mayor John DeStefano and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro joined about fifty protestors who gathered recently on the shoreline in Morris Cove -- a neighborhood of New Haven that looks out onto New Haven Harbor and Long Island Sound. In the water are kayakers, and a line of boats 40 deep, all with anti-dumping signs…
"Thank you boaters! Thank you for coming out! "
They’re protesting a plan to dredge up silt and sediment from the Bridgeport Harbor. The sludge - some of it toxic - would be moved to the waters just off Morris Cove and deposited into a sub-seabed cell. The cell would be capped. But protestors worry that capping won't keep the toxins from seeping out.
Resident Ben Northrup is a member of the group: New Haven Power - Protect our Waters.
"We swim here, we boat here, we eat fish out of here. And we just don't want toxic materials in our harbor," he says.
1964 was the last time the metal, sediment and other material left behind by industry and boating were removed from the Bridgeport Harbor. New Haven's harbor is bigger than Bridgeport’s and dredged more regularly - so there's more room to dump.
"We have to look at dredging the Bridgeport harbor to keep the navigation channel open," says
Timothy Dugan, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers. He says the Corps has determined the capped cell is safe – and that it will keep the materials from seeping out.
"It would actually be beneficial for that area because it would allow the area to grow fisheries, resources, etc."
He says filling in the hole would allow fish and other sea life to once again grow and live in that area.
But he says the corps is taking the community's concerns seriously. The plan is still under review, and must be approved by Congress and the state of Connecticut. The earliest the Bridgeport Harbor would be dredged is 2013.