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Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point: Army's Primary East Coast Deepwater Port

MOTSU FILEminimizerMany of us probably don’t think about the importance of dredging in relation to national security and maintaining access to our military bases and terminals.  Maintaining access to navigation basins, access channels, and berthing areas is a critical component in our nation’s ability to accomplish its military and national security mission.  When these waterways and berthing areas become shoaled, the immediate capacity of a facility or base to transport materials and personnel is reduced or delays are incurred until full project capabilities are restored through dredging. 

ANAMAR recently sampled and tested dredge material at the Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point (MOTSU), which is one of the largest military terminals in the world.  It is a high-security facility that is constantly patrolled by boats with armed soldiers.  And for good reason—MOTSU is the key ammunition shipping point on the Atlantic coast for the Department of Defense and is the Army's primary east coast deepwater port.  As the world's largest military terminal, Sunny Point ships more explosive cargo and equipment to the nation's armed forces and allies than any other facility.  The mission of the facility is to be prepared to quickly and effectively support the U.S. military and allies through the shipment of munitions, ordnance, or other military materials in response to any global situation or military requirement.  The maintenance of navigation depth at MOTSU is a prerequisite to maintaining a high state of operational preparedness at the facility.

Built in 1951, the terminal serves as a transfer point between rail cars, trucks, and ships during the import or export of weapons, ammunition, explosives, tanks, and military equipment for the U.S. Army.  MOTSU sprawls across 8,600 acres on the west side of the Cape Fear River, near the towns of Boiling Spring Lakes and Southport.  A vast majority of MOTSU’s real estate is longleaf and loblolly pine forest, which provides a barrier between shipping operations and the general public.  To prevent harm to the surrounding community, there is a 2,100-acre buffer zone on Pleasure Island (Carolina, Kure, Wilmington, and Fort Fisher beaches) and a 4,300-acre buffer in Brunswick County.  Despite its isolation, Sunny Point is an impressive facility.  Its three huge docks can handle several ships simultaneously.  Large cranes and 62 miles of tracks within the terminal move military supplies and explosive cargo.  The two most controversial cargoes shipped through the terminal were World War II nerve gas in 1970 and European spent nuclear fuel rods in 1994.


Mims, Bryan.  2015.  Secrets of Sunny Point.  Our State Magazine.  May 26, 2015.  Accessed 01/02/18.

Wikipedia.  Accessed 01/29/18.

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The HMS Challenger; One of the Earliest Scientific Expeditions That Changed the Course of Scientific History


HMS Challenger Anatomy of a penguin

"Anatomy of Penguins" The Voyage of HMS Challenger

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The HMS Challenger set sail on December 21, 1872, from Portsmouth, England, containing an impressive crew of physicists, chemists, biologists, artists, and expert navigators, all of which shared the common goal of circumnavigating the globe while studying the flora and fauna that live within our oceans. On its 68,890-nautical-mile-voyage, the Challenger obtained 492 deep-sea soundings, 133 bottom samples, 151 open-water trawls, and 263 serial water temperature readings. It is estimated that on this voyage nearly 4,700 new species of marine life were discovered. Among some of the instruments used during this voyage were a shallow-water dredge, a deep-sea trawl (that had no closing device), specimen jars containing alcohol for preservation, thermometers and water sampling devices such as the Buchanan water sampler, 144 miles of Italian hemp rope, and 12.5 miles of piano wire for sampling gear, as well as many microscopes and instruments for the on-board laboratories. The ship contained a natural history laboratory where specimens were examined, identified, dissected, and drawn, and a chemistry laboratory containing a (then) state-of-the-art boiling device called a carbonic acid analysis apparatus, used for analyzing carbonic acid contained in samples.


  1. Oceanography: An Introduction to the Marine Environment (Peter K. Weyl, 1970)
  2. Rice, A.L. (1999). "The Challenger Expedition". Understanding the Oceans: Marine Science in the Wake of HMS Challenger. Routledge. pp. 27–48


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NOAA and EPA Seek Public Comment on Proposing a Disapproval of Oregon’s Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Program

NOAA and EPA Seek Public Comment on Proposing a Disapproval of Oregon’s Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Program

On December 19, 2013, NOAA and EPA announced the beginning of a 90-day public comment period on the agencies’ proposal to disapprove the State of Oregon’s coastal nonpoint pollution control program. NOAA and EPA state that the program isn’t complete and has gaps concerning the water quality impacts of new development and onsite sewage disposal systems (OSDS). They also contend that the program needs additional management measures for forestry. The 90-day public comment period will end May 15, 2014.


NOAA’s Newsroom:

Oregon Coastal Nonpoint Program NOAA/EPA Proposed Findings:

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Water Quality Criteria Mixing Model (STFATE)

 7.3.3    Water Quality Criteria Mixing Model (STFATE)

(Excerpted from the Southeastern Regional Implementation Manual [SERIM])

Running the Water Quality Criteria Mixing Model (STFATE) for documenting compliance with the ocean dumping criteria is based on comparison of WQC compliance screen values or elutriate concentrations to the CMC (i.e., if any analytical results are above the CMC, the mixing model should be run for that particular parameter).  Mixing model results should be summarized as the minimum dilution (and corresponding concentration) achieved outside the site boundaries and within the site boundaries after 4 hours.  Examples of the summary results obtained for initial mixing computation of water quality are presented in Tables 7-1 and 7-2.

Table 7-1.  Example of WQC Initial Mixing Computation Results:  4‑Hour Criteria




Maximum Contaminant Concentration (Cmax) on Grid*

Dilution on Grid (Da-wq)2


X (1st Depth)




Y (2nd Depth)




Z (3rd Depth)



*   Information obtained from computer output

1    Depths should correspond to the depths for which initial mixing computation results are provided by the model.

2    Da-wq= (Cs-Cmax)/(Cmax-Cds); where Cs and CDS are defined in Eq 3-1[CS2] 

NOTE:  In the above calculations, a Cs of 0.90 and a Cds of 0.0 were used for demonstration.

Table 7-2.  Example of WQC Initial Mixing Computation Results:  Disposal Site Boundary Criteria



Time Corresponding to Cmax Outside Disposal Site (hours)*

Maximum Contaminant Concentration (Cmax) Outside Disposal Site *

Dilution Outside Disposal Site (Da-wq)2

X (1st Depth)




Y (2nd Depth)




Z (3rd Depth)




*   Information obtained from computer output

1    Depths should correspond to the depths for which initial mixing computation results are provided by the model.

2      Da-wq=(Cs-Cmax)/(Cmax-Cds); where Cs and CDS are defined in Eq 3-1

NOTE:  In the above calculations, a Cs of 0.90 and a Cds of 0.0 were used for demonstration.

The dredged material characteristics (% solids, % sand, % clay, % silt, percent solids, water density) and operational parameters (barge characteristics, disposal method, etc.) used for the model runs should be provided.  If non-standard input parameters (Appendix G - STFATE Input Parameters or ODMDS SMMP) are used, they should be summarized and a rationale for their use provided.  EPA Region 4 and USACE SAD districts should be consulted prior to using non-standard input parameters.  Model output files (*.DUO) should be provided with the 103 evaluation or the sediment testing report.  Additionally, an electronic copy *.DUI file should be provided to expedite data review.


USEPA/USACE.  2008.  Southeast Regional Implementation Manual (SERIM) for Requirements and Procedures for Evaluation of the Ocean Disposal of Dredged Material in Southeastern U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coast Waters.  EPA 904-B-08-001.  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Atlantic Division, Atlanta, GA.


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SERIM: Water Quality Criteria


Water Quality Criteria

Excerpted from the Southeastern Regional Implementation Manual (SERIM) Screen to Determine WQC Compliance


A screening method utilizing sediment chemistry can be used to determine compliance. The screen assumes that all of the contaminants in the dredged material are released into the water column during the disposal operation (see Section 10.1.1 of the 1991 Green Book). If the numerical model predicts that the concentration of all COCs released into the water column are less than the applicable WQC, the marine WQC LPC is satisfied.

The model needs to be run only for the COC that requires the greatest dilution. If the contaminant requiring the greatest dilution is shown to meet the LPC, all of the other contaminants that require less dilution will also meet the LPC. The contaminant that would require the greatest dilution is determined by calculating the dilution that would be required to meet the applicable marine WQC. To determine the required dilution (Dr), the following equation is solved for each COC:

Dr = (Cs-Cwq) / (Cwq - Cds)                                 [Eq. 3-1]


Cs =    concentration of the contaminant in the dredged material elutriate, expressed as micrograms per liter (μg/L) as determined by either equation 3-1 below or by elutriate chemical analytical results discussed in Section

Cwq =  applicable marine WQC (EPA WQC or state WQS), in (μg/L)

Cds =   background concentration of the constituent at the disposal site water column, in μg/L

NOTE:Dilution is defined as the volume of ambient water in the sample divided by the volume of elutriate water in the sample.

Note that most contaminant results are reported in micrograms per kilogram (μg/kg) dry weight. To convert the contaminant concentration reported on a dry-weight basis to the contaminant concentration in the dredged material, the dry-weight concentration must be multiplied by the mass of dredged-material solids per liter of dredged material:

                                  [Eq. 3-2]


Cdw =  contaminant concentration in dredged material, reported on a dry-weight basis (μg/kg)

ns =    percent solids as a decimal

G =    specific gravity of the solids. Use 2.65 if site-specific data are not available.

A table showing each contaminant and the dilution required to meet the WQC should be provided with the analysis. Alternatively, a module in the STFATE model can be used. The module requires the solids concentration (g/L), which is the term in brackets in Equation 3-2 above multiplied by 1000.

The concentration of the contaminant that would require the greatest dilution is then modeled using a numerical mixing model. Model input parameters are specific to each proposed dredging project and each ocean disposal site. Standard STFATE input parameters for each disposal site are being developed with each ODMDS-specific SMMP. They are included in Appendix G along with additional guidance on model usage. The key parameters derived from the dispersion model are the maximum concentration of the contaminant in the water column outside the boundary of the disposal site during the 4-hour initial-mixing period or anywhere in the marine environment after the 4-hour initial-mixing period. If both of these concentrations are below the applicable marine WQC, the WQC LPC is met and no additional testing is required to determine compliance with the WQC. If either of these concentrations exceeds the WQC, additional testing is necessary to determine compliance with the WQC, as described in the next section.



Citation: USEPA/USACE. 2008. Southeast Regional Implementation Manual (SERIM) for Requirements and Procedures for Evaluation of the Ocean Disposal of Dredged Material in South­eastern U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coast Waters. EPA 904-B-08-001. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Atlantic Division, Atlanta, GA. 2008.pdf

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Word From the Field: San Francisco DODS Survey

ANAMAR’s biologist Jason Seitz recently assisted EPA and USACE in a benthic survey of the San Francisco Deep Ocean Disposal Site (SF-DODS) aboard the R/V Point Sur 50 miles off the coast of San Francisco. During the survey, Jason and other crew spotted many of nature’s majestic creatures. In the following paragraph Jason lists some of the species observed during the survey.

“We encountered several species of marine mammals during the SF-DODS survey, including humpback whales, northern right whale dolphins, Pacific white-sided dolphins, Rizzo’s dolphins, sea otters, seals, and sea lions.  We also encountered pelagic birds such as black-footed albatross, storm petrels, shearwaters, murres, murrelets, and tufted puffins.”

-Jason Seitz


SF-DODS, an ocean disposal site for dredged materials, is regulated under the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (MPRSA) and co-managed by USACE San Francisco District and EPA Region 9. SF-DODS is also the nation’s deepest disposal site. It is located along the continental slope in water depths of about 3000 meters and is just outside the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.




Photo's courtesy of Jason Seitz



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Alachua County Water Quality Ordinance Excerpt

Alachua County Water Quality Ordinance Excerpt

(The following text is an excerpt from the Alachua County Water Quality Code and can be found at the link at the bottom of the blog.)

Section 9. General requirements

  1. Dry weather runoff water

It shall be prohibited to discharge into surface waters or directly into ground waters

through wells or sinkholes the following materials:

(1) Wastewater from cleaning or maintenance activities, including, but not limited

to car washing, carpet cleaning, sidewalk, building, roads and parking lot cleaning.

(2) Chlorinated wastewater from swimming pools cleanup and pool water

treatment materials, including diatomaceous earth.

(3) Wastewater, including water that has leached through waste materials

including, but not limited to barrels, trash cans, dumpsters, and containers for food scrap or food grease recycling.

(4) Wastewater from water treatment equipment, including spent brine, from

water softeners.

(b) Equipment maintenance and storage

(1) Equipment parts such as vehicle engines containing grease, oil or other

hazardous materials shall not be stored in areas susceptible to stormwater runoff.

(2) Any machine, which is to be repaired or maintained in an uncovered outdoor

area, shall be placed on an impervious surface and / or provisions shall be available to

contain hazardous materials discharges.

(3) Machinery and equipment, including motor vehicles, which are leaking

significant amounts of oil or fluids must be repaired or be stored in areas not susceptible

to stormwater runoff.

(b)Removal of debris and residue

(1) All parking lots shall be routinely swept to remove debris.

(2) Litter shall not be discharged to a surface water body. Appropriate litter

control practices shall be implemented to control litter entering surface water bodies.

(3) Landscaping waste including, but not limited to yard clippings, leaves and

branches, shall not be discharged to a surface water body.

  1. Enforcement of residential violations

In addressing residential violations of Sections 9(a) – (c), County staff shall

provide an educational approach that emphasizes environmental awareness in order to

achieve compliance prior to initiating enforcement action with the use of the provisions of Chapter 24.

Click on the link below to read the full Alachua County Water Quality Code.

Alachua County Water Quality Code


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EPA Finalizes Vessel General Permit

EPA Finalizes Vessel General Permit

                The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently finalized its National Pollutant General Discharge Elimination System general permit¹ regulating discharges and ballast water on commercial vessels that are at least 79 feet long. The 2013 Vessel General Permit will replace the 2008 Vessel General Permit on December 19, 2013, when the 2008 VGP expires. 




          This action is the reissuance of EPA’s Vessel General Permit (VGP).The first iteration of the VGP expires on December 19, 2013. This second issuance of the VGP will replace that permit. This action applies to vessels operating in a capacity as a means of transportation, that have discharges incidental to their normal operations into waters subject to this permit, except recreational vessels as defined in Clean Water Act §502(25), P.L. 110-288. Unless otherwise excluded from coverage by Part 6 of the permit, waters subject to this permit means waters of the U.S. as defined in 40 CFR§122.2. That provision defines “waters of the U.S.” as certain inland waters and the territorial sea, which extends three miles from the baseline (as used in this document, mile means nautical mile, i.e., 6076 feet). 1 Note that the Clean Water Act (CWA) does not require NPDES permits for vessels or other floating craft operating as a means of transportation beyond the territorial seas, i.e., in the contiguous zone or ocean as defined by the CWA §§ 502(9), (10). See CWA §502(12) and 40 CFR §122.2 (definition of “discharge of a pollutant”). This permit, therefore, does not apply to discharges in such waters. Non-recreational vessels greater than 79 feet, which are not vessels of the armed forces, operating in a capacity as a means of transportation needing NPDES coverage for their incidental discharges will generally be subject to the VGP. Similarly situated vessels less than 79 feet maybe covered under the VGP, or may instead opt for coverage under the Small Vessel General Permit (sVGP).



          Supporting information and materials for this permit are included in Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0141-available at: For further information on the VGP, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact Ryan Albert at (202) 564-0763 or Juhi Saxena at (202) 564-0719.




          Section 301(a) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) provides that “the discharge of any pollutant by any person shall be unlawful” unless the discharge is in compliance with certain other sections of the Act. 33 U.S.C. 1311(a). The CWA defines “discharge of a pollutant” as “(A) any addition of any pollutant to navigable waters from any point source, (B) any addition of any pollutant to the waters of the contiguous zone or the ocean from any point source other than a vessel or other floating craft.” 33 U.S.C.1362(12). A “point source” is a “discernible, confined and discrete conveyance” and includes a “vessel or other floating craft.”33 U.S.C.1362(14). 1 More specifically, CWA section 502(8) defines “territorial seas” as “the belt of the seas measured from the line of the ordinary low water along that portion of the coast which is in direct contact with the open sea and the line marking the seaward limit of inland waters, and extending seaward a distance of three miles.” Page 9 of 198 Final 2013 VGP Fact Sheet The term “pollutant” includes, among other things, “garbage... chemical wastes...and industrial, municipal, and agricultural waste discharged into water.” The Act's definition of “pollutant” specifically excludes “sewage from vessels or a discharge incidental to the normal operation of a vessel of the Armed Forces” within the meaning of CWA §312.33 U.S.C. 1362(6). One way a person may discharge a pollutant without violating the section 301 prohibition is by obtaining authorization to discharge (referred to herein as “coverage”) under a section 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit (33 U.S.C. § 1342). Under section 402(a), EPA may “issue a permit for the discharge of any pollutant, or combination of pollutants, notwithstanding section 1311(a)” upon certain conditions required by the Act.



  1. ¹, Final 2013 VGP Permit
  2., Final 2013 VGP Fact Sheet
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The Yamuna River – Pollution So Thick You Can See It From Space

The Yamuna River – Pollution So Thick You Can See It From Space

Anyone who knows me well would not be surprised to learn that while in India visiting Delhi, I made a special effort to visit the heavily polluted Yamuna River. When my host in India said he had heard about a place where the pollution on the river is so thick you can see it from space, I said “let’s go”! The Yamuna River originates in the Himalayas and flows through Delhi, past the Taj Majal in Agra, and eventually into the Ganges River at the city of Allahabad. To Hindus, the river’s sacred historic meanings and spiritual beliefs encourage people to bathe in the river – an act that is still practiced daily. In the present day, by the time the Yamuna flows through Delhi it has received millions of gallons per day of marginally treated industrial and domestic wastewater and an immeasurable volume of general trash. I visited the river immediately downstream of the Kalindi Kunj Dam. As the water cascades over a spillway, the mixing energy results in a thick layer of foam across the river and leaves a very “fragrant” aroma in the air. Trash is everywhere on the banks--plastic, paper, food remains, and unidentifiable “stuff” plus animal and human waste. From the shore, no visible life is apparent in the water or along the shore. There is no plant life within the water and no birds scouring the river for dinner. Where the water is visible through breaks in the foam, it appears to be completely black without enough clarity to even see a few inches into the flow. There is a potential glimmer of hope for this river; Indian officials are looking at techniques used to revive the Thames River in England in the hopes that they may be applied to the Yamuna. The Thames was considered “dead” 55 years ago but is once again a breeding ground for fish and bird life. Techniques used in the Thames included removing industrial effluent discharge into the river and improving domestic wastewater treatment facilities. This will certainly be no small feat to accomplish in the Yamuna River basin.

Delhi00014 FILEminimizer

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Scientists Venture to the Southern Ocean (Antarctic) to Study the Effects of Ocean Acidification…

antarctic ocean

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ANAMAR’s Vice-President, Terence Cake, is accepted to volunteer for “Water for People” in India

Terry Cake has been accepted to participate in a volunteer assignment in India with World Water Corps, the arm of Water for People ( that monitors the work that happens in the field. Water for People began working in India in 1996 and supports the development of water systems, sanitation facilities, and hygiene education programs across West Bengal. Their current program, Everyone Forever, is an effort to involve community leaders and local entrepreneurs to improve and sustain the sanitation supply chain to provide a sustainable solution to water and sanitation issues in the targeted districts and municipalities. Terry will be part of an all-volunteer team consisting of two engineers and two social scientists who will travel to the Sundarban area on the coast of the Bengal Sea south of Kolkata. The Sundarbans are the world’s largest mangrove forest, spanning the border of India and Bangladesh. This area contains numerous small municipalities and communities, many of which are isolated on remote islands. A typical water supply point in the area consists of a hand-operated pump where residents fill containers with water to be carried back to their homes. Sanitation is typically provided by “pit privy” style latrines. The team’s goal will be to identify key strengths and weaknesses of the system that has been established by the Everyone Forever effort and to identify remedies for the gaps and explore other suitable alternatives that can be promoted. This monitoring system is called Field Level Operations Watch (FLOW), which is a system to collect, manage, analyze, and display geographically referenced monitoring and evaluation data. An application custom-built for Android-based smart phones will be used to collect information about the individual sanitation features, including GPS coordinates, a photo of the installation, reliability as reported by its users, and the conditions observed at the time of the visit. The team will compile these data and upload them to the FLOW website ( at the end of each day. After spending a week visiting the various communities, the team will evaluate all the collected data and prepare a report of their findings and suggestions.

 India woman bucket of water

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