Water Resources:

Legislation Needed To Extend the Life of Confined Disposal Facilities

RCED-86-145: Published: Aug 12, 1986. Publicly Released: Sep 16, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the status and use of confined disposal facilities that the Army Corps of Engineers built on the Great Lakes, specifically: (1) whether the facility in Kenosha, Wisconsin, should be closed; (2) the location and status of all confined disposal facilities that the Corps has built since 1970, local government and private sector use of the facilities, and the use for other than dredged contaminated material; and (3) remedies proposed by other communities whose facilities were not filled within the 10-year statutory period.

GAO found that: (1) the Corps should close the facility at Kenosha after 10 years unless the community agrees to an extension to keep the facility open; (2) as of May 1985, the Corps had constructed 24 facilities on the Great Lakes since 1970, of which it would probably not fill 17 within the 10-year statutory period; (3) 2 of the facilities were completely full, 9 were between 57- and 97-percent full, and 13 were less that 50-percent full; (4) local governments or the private sector used 8 of the facilities; (5) only two communities permitted facilities to be used for other than contaminated dredgings; and (6) no communities have proposed remedies to the Corps for unfilled facilities.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: If the Corps determines that continued use of existing unfilled confined disposal facilities for more than 10 years is necessary to hold contaminated dredgings, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Chief of Engineers to propose legislation amending P.L. 91-611 to allow the Corps to use such facilities beyond 10 years until filled, if local communities agree to the extension.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army proposed legislation to clarify that the Corps' authority to fill a confined disposal facility is not limited to a particular time period. This proposal was made in letters dated April 1, 1987, to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

    Recommendation: If the Corps determines that continued use of existing unfilled confined disposal facilities for more than 10 years is necessary to hold contaminated dredgings, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Chief of Engineers to develop alternatives to dispose of contaminated dredgings where communities do not agree to the extension.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army and the City of Kenosha, Wisconsin, executed a Memorandum of Understanding, dated September 2, 1986, which provided for the incremental turnover of the excess fill capacity of the Kenosha confined disposal facility (CDF) to the City.

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