[HISTORY: Adopted by the County Legislature of the County of Ulster by L.L. No. 3-1997. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Ulster County Legislature hereby finds that dredge material such as that from the Hudson River or New York harbor is often contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxin or other toxic chemicals so that its disposal on land in Ulster County can imperil the health and safety of the residents of the County by affecting water and air quality and producing direct or indirect exposure of the population to these various toxic chemicals. Because of Ulster County's topography, geology, population concentrations, numerous public water supplies, and the existence of parks and preserves, there exist a relatively small number of sites for disposal of dredge material. This chapter is intended to regulate disposal of such dredge material so as to ensure that unacceptable toxic chemicals not be released or discharged into the environment and to eliminate the aforementioned effects by requiring that such disposal take place only upon sites which have been approved under the terms and conditions of a permit issued by the County's Public Health Director.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The discharge, deposit, injection, dumping, spilling, leaking or placing of any dredge material so that such dredge material or any related constituent thereof may enter the environment, or the abandonment of any dredge material. "Disposal" also means the thermal destruction, decontamination, treatment and/or soil washing of dredge material.
- DREDGE MATERIAL
- Earth, sediment, rock, sludge or other matter dredged or otherwise removed or excavated from the Hudson River or any other body of water, wherever located, which is navigable in fact or which is being made navigable in fact by dredging.
- DREDGE MATERIAL DISPOSAL FACILITY
- Any facility employed beyond the initial dredge material collection process, including but not limited to dredge material, rail haul or barge haul facilities, processing systems, or other facility reducing dredge material volume, landfills, plants and facilities for compacting, composting or pyrolization of dredge material, incinerators and dredge material disposal, reduction or conversation facilities.
- DREDGE MATERIAL SITE
- Any lands in Ulster County upon which dredge material is placed.
- Air, water, minerals, flora or fauna.
- NAVIGABLE IN FACT
- Navigable in its natural or unimproved condition, affording a channel for useful commerce of a substantial and permanent character conducted in the customary mode of trade and travel on water. A theoretical or potential navigability, or one that is temporary, precarious and unprofitable, is not sufficient, but to be navigable in fact a lake or stream must have practical usefulness to the public as a highway for transportation.
- Any individual, public or private corporation, political subdivision, government agency, municipality, industry, copartnership, association, firm, trust, estate or any other legal entity whatsoever.
- PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR
- The Public Health Director of Ulster County or Commissioner of Health of Ulster County, if any.
- TOXIC CHEMICAL
- Any chemical substance whose exposure to human life causes or is reasonably suspected to cause human disease, or as specifically designated by the rules and regulations of the Public Health Director as hereinafter authorized.
No person shall own or operate any dredge material disposal facility or any dredge material site or, being the owner thereof, place or allow, suffer or permit any other person to place dredge material upon any dredge material site or engage in the disposal of dredge material without a permit therefor issued by the Public Health Director of Ulster County and then only in accordance with the terms and conditions of such permit.
The Public Health Director of Ulster County is authorized to issue permits for the ownership and/or operation of dredge material sites and/or dredge material disposal facilities.
Before issuing any such permit the applicant therefor shall satisfy the Public Health Director by appropriate scientific evidence and studies that the proposed site is so located and will be so constructed and managed as to eliminate any measurable discharge of toxic chemicals into underground or surface water and minimize discharge into the atmosphere to not exceed levels fixed by the Public Health Director. The Public Health Director may condition the issuance and continuation of any such permit upon such terms and conditions as will ensure compliance with this standard.
The Public Health Director may revoke any such permit upon a finding, made after a hearing held in accordance with the provisions of § 71-1709 of the Environmental Conservation Law, that the permit holder has violated any of such terms and conditions. The Public Health Director in his discretion may also impose a penalty of $10,000 for each such violation.
The Public Health Director is authorized to adopt and amend rules and regulations governing the issuance and continuation of permits authorized under this chapter and the terms and conditions thereof and governing the operation, siting, design and construction of dredge material sites and dredge material facilities.
Such rules and regulations:
Shall be directed at the prevention or reduction of:
May identify specific toxic chemicals and acceptable levels of discharge thereof into the atmosphere, if any.
May require the posting of a performance bond as a condition of permit issuance to insure compliance with permit terms and conditions.
Shall be effective upon filing with the Ulster County Clerk.
In addition, in adopting such rules and regulations, the Public Health Director shall give due regard to the economic and technological feasibility of compliance herewith. Any rule or regulation promulgated pursuant hereto may differ in its terms and provisions as between particular types of dredge material or dredge material facilities and as between particular areas of the County.
This chapter may be enforced by an action for injunctive relief brought in the name of the County by the County Attorney. In addition, the Public Health Director, after a hearing held in accordance with the provisions of § 71-1709 of the Environmental Conservation Law, may assess a civil penalty in the amount of $10,000 per day for each day that a violation of this chapter continues, to be recovered in an action brought in the name of the County against any violator of this chapter.
In addition to the penalties set forth in § 181-5, the Public Health Director, after the hearing referred to in such section, shall have the power to order:
The violator to restore the affected dredge material site or dredge material disposal facility or area immediately adjacent thereto to its condition prior to the violation, insofar as that is possible within a reasonable time and under the supervision of the Public Health Director.
The forfeiture to the County of Ulster of any equipment or vehicles used in committing the violation, whether or not such equipment or vehicles are owned by the violator.
Any such order under this section may be enforced by an action brought in the name of the County by the County Attorney against the violator and/or owner of any such equipment or vehicle.
For the purpose of maintaining the status quo and allowing the Public Health Director to develop rules and regulations pursuant to the provisions of § 181-4 hereof, the Public Health Director shall not be authorized to issue any permits for the activities described in § 181-3 hereof for a period of nine months following the date this chapter becomes effective. The Public Health Director may however undertake and participate in any procedure required for State Environmental Quality Review Act review of any such activities during such period.
Editor's Note: See Art. 8, § 8-0101 et seq. of the Environmental Conservation Law.
All actions and proceedings by the Public Health Director hereunder shall be in compliance with the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act and rules and regulations promulgated thereunder. It is hereby found and determined that the adoption of this chapter will not have a significant effect on the environment.