US Navy seeks dredging permit for destroyer

Augusta Memorial Bridge over the kennebec River, Maine. Credit: Denis Tangney Jr/Getty Images

The US Navy is seeking a 10-year permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers to dredge a stretch of the Kennebec River between Bath and Phippsburg, to allow newly built destroyers to reach the north Atlantic Gulf of Maine, from Bath Iron Works. 

The permit, which would allow the Navy to appoint a contractor to the project, will have 60,000 m3 of sediment dredged from Kennebec River in a maintenance dredging regime that would take place every three years. Work would entail deepening of the river to a depth of around 9 m, or nearly 10 m around Doubling Point, slightly less than halfway along the route, and 8 m deep at the river’s entrance, emerging into the Atlantic. 

The operation would take around a month using a hopper dredger, with resulting material to be dumped near Jackknife Ledge, near the mouth of the river. The Kennebec River will need to be “free and clear of debris” and the operation will need to be completed “in a timely fashion”, according to spokesperson Tim Dugan, in order to allow Bath Iron Works’ most recent christened, USS Daniel Inouye, to leave the yard in 2020.  

Environmental impact would be “minimal and of short duration”, Dugan said. 

“Both the Navy and Army Corps of Engineers are very concerned about the environmental impacts of the dredging,” said Colleen O’Rourke, a Navy spokesperson. “As required in the permitting process, we extensively co-ordinate with both federal and state environmental agencies to ensure that all requirements are met.”