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Permits for Dredged Material

Clamshell dredge in action

Dredging is essential for the development and maintenance of ports, harbours, and shipping channels, for the construction of marine facilities, and for a variety of other activities. It is usually undertaken to remove sediment or rock from one location for disposal at another pre-determined location.

Dredged materials are usually sediments or rocks with associated water, organic matter etc. removed from areas that are normally or regularly covered by water, using dredging or other excavation equipment. Each year in Canada approximately 2.5 million cubic meters of dredged material are disposed of at sea under the authority of approximately 45 Disposal at Sea permits. Activities occur annually and routinely on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Dredging occurs less frequently in the Arctic Ocean and adjoining waters.

Depending upon the nature of the material to be moved dredging may be conducted mechanically by way of buckets or clamshells, hydraulically by way of hydraulic suction, or by way of a combination of the two techniques. Alternatively dredging may be accomplished through agitation of the seabed by means of water injection, water jets, propeller wash, air jets, and rakes where the suspended sediments are relocated to a new site by way of natural currents.

Crane and barge

Permit Process for Dredged Material

Milestone 1: Applicant’s decision to apply for a DAS permit

Step 1: Detailed description and characterization of waste or other matter [and of disposal site].
Step 2: Assessment of waste management options (or: Waste prevention audit and comparative assessment of management options).

Milestone 2: Applicant prepares DAS permit application

Step 3: Applicant collects information required to select disposal site.
Step 4: Applicant analyzes each waste management option using a comparative risk assessment.
Step 5: Applicant prepares and impact hypothesis.

Milestone 3: Application is submitted to EC

Step 6: Notice of Intent is published.
Step 7: Applicant consults with other legitimate users and managers of the sea.
Step 8: Application is submitted.

Milestone 4: Application is reviewed, and permit decision is made

Step 9: EC distributes the application to the appropriate agencies for review.
Step 10: EC decides whether to issue a permit.

Milestone 5: Permit is published

Step 11: EC publishes permit in the Canada Gazette.
Step 12: Permit is valid after the minimum 30 day notification period or on the permit start date.

Milestone 6: Permit is valid and operations can begin

Step 13: permittee uses permit in accordance with terms and conditions. 

Milestone 7: Inspection and operations are complete

Step 14: Inspection is completed.
Step 15: End of the permit or completion of the operations.

Milestone 8: Post permit-monitoring

Step 16: Compliance monitoring and disposal site effects monitoring are conducted at representative disposal sites.

Disposal at Sea Permit Process