The ODD was developed by researchers at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center Environmental Laboratory (EL) to collect and disseminate data about the disposal of dredged material at ocean sites. The ODD is one of the oldest and most comprehensive datasets in the U.S. for ocean disposal of dredged material.
The U.S. is a party to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping Wastes and Other Matter (London Convention 1972), an international agreement that governs the deliberate disposal at sea of wastes or other matter from vessels, aircraft, and platforms. The London Convention went into effect in 1975. Parties to the Convention agreed to control disposal by implementing regulatory programs to assess the need for, and the potential impact of, disposal. The Convention requires the contracting parties to report annually on the amount and location of materials dumped during the previous calendar year. In 1972, the U.S. Congress enacted the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA; also known as the Ocean Dumping Act), to prohibit the disposal of material into the ocean that would unreasonably degrade or endanger human health or the marine environment. The MPRSA implements the requirements of the London Convention. Ocean disposal cannot occur unless a permit is issued under the MPRSA section 102 or 103.
Most of the transportation of wastes for the purpose of disposal in ocean waters by the U.S. consists of dredged material. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is responsible for designating Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Sites (ODMDS) under MPRSA section 102. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in consultation with USEPA can also select other sites for short-term use for dredged material disposal under MPRSA section 103b. The decision to issue a permit to transport dredged material for the purpose of disposal into ocean waters is made by the USACE, using USEPA’s criteria and subject to USEPA's concurrence under section 103 of the MPRSA.
To meet the annual reporting requirements of the Convention, EL has conducted data collection since 1976 to collect ocean disposal data for the previous year. At least 20 USACE districts are queried to collect information about the disposal of dredged material at ODMDSs. The information is used by the USACE and USEPA to help manage ODMDSs. The EL, in cooperation with USEPA, uses the information to prepare an annual ocean disposal report and submits this to the International Maritime Organization, an agency that administers the London Convention.
The ODD is a relational database built and maintained in Microsoft Access. ODD is updated annually in the fall and is accessible via a public website.
The website features a map displaying each ODMDS and a short description of the site as well as frequency of use and disposal volumes. A simple query is available to allow users to search ODMDS data by USACE district or division, ocean, or USEPA region. Pertinent information on disposal of dredged material is presented including, ocean site, dredge methods, start and end dates, monitoring activity, site management and location of dredge project.
The Convention is implemented in the U. S. through the MPRSA. To fulfill the annual reporting agreement, the ODD was successfully developed to comprehensively document and report data concerning the disposal of dredged material at ocean sites since 1976.
The database is accessible to anyone with a browser (such as Firefox, Google Chrome, or Windows Explorer).
ERDC Points of Contact
Questions about the ODD?
Contact: Justin Wilkens
Updated 25 August 2020