Assessment of dredging and sea dumping proposals Sea dumping proposals are rigorously assessed by GBRMPA under a regulatory framework that includes evaluating disposal alternatives and waste minimisation procedures, site and impact assessments, and management and monitoring programs. The assessment considers any land-based alternatives to sea dumping such as beneficial re-use, recycling, or treating the material without presenting risks to human health, the environment or disproportionate costs. If viable alternatives to sea dumping exist, an application for a sea dumping permit is unlikely to be approved.
If GBRMPA determines that disposal at sea is the only viable option, the proponent must demonstrate that the dredge material is suitable for ocean disposal by way of a comprehensive sediment quality assessment (which can involve chemical testing, toxicity testing and bioavailability testing) in accordance with the NAGD 2009. A proposed ocean disposal site must comply with the guidelines, and include operational considerations, bathymetry and seafloor topography, substrate type, hydrographic factors and ecological and economic factors. GBRMPA assesses each application for sea dumping on a case-by-case basis, taking a riskbased approach in line with all relevant legislation, policies and guidelines. Permissions granted for dredging or sea dumping inside the Marine Park place certain obligations on the permittee which may include (but are not limited to) having an approved environmental management plan, requirements for environmental site supervision, dredge plume hydrodynamic modelling, water quality monitoring and offsets.