Apr 26, 2021

Settlement to Improve Storm Water Controls at Newport Naval Station

The U.S. Navy will make more than $39 million in repairs at the Newport Naval Station in Rhode Island

rhode island water

The U.S. Navy has agreed to make more than $39 million in repairs at the Newport Naval Station in Rhode Island, according to EPA.

The repairs aim to ensure that the facility is in compliance with storm water discharge regulations into Coddington Cove, which is an embayment of Narragansett Bay.

After an inspection of the facility in August 2016, it was necessary to evaluate the condition of the storm water conveyance system, which was causing erosion and discharge of soils to Coddington Cove. The inspection focused on the presence of sinkholes and the condition of storm water infrastructure covered under the site's storm water permit, reported EPA. 

EPA inspectors discovered that the deteriorated condition of storm water outfall pipes had caused or contributed to at least four large sinkholes near the permitted storm water outfalls.

"The projects under this agreement with the US Navy will help reduce discharges of soil to Coddington Cove," said EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Larry Starfield in the EPA news release. "Rhode Island communities will benefit through improved water quality in Narragansett Bay."

The facility's storm water system and waterfront bulkhead at Derecktor Shipyard has resulted in 25 sinkholes that have been identified along the bulkhead and the Navy identified numerous holes in the bulkhead wall. The condition of the bulkhead caused soil to be discharged without a permit into Coddington Cove, reported EPA.

The Navy will complete storm water discharge infrastructure improvements by 2030 at the former Derecktor Shipyard, reported EPA. According to EPA, the facility was in violation of the Clean Water Act and the repairs will include seven projects along the bulkhead and a retaining wall along the waterfront.

The Naval Station operates under a municipal storm water permit issued by Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the facility includes the former Derecktor shipyard, a Superfund site, according to EPA.

Navy will also be responsible for maintaining a soil and asphalt cover to prevent exposure to contaminated soils at Derecktor Shipyard under a clean-up plan issued by the Navy in 2014, added EPA. Navy is collecting soil and sediment samples in the area of the soil exposed by the sinkholes or from soil erosion into Coddington Cove.

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