Town fights against dredge dumping

February 16, 2008 4:51:44 PM PST
People in Beverly, New Jersey are saying enough! They don't want to be the recipients of dredge dirt anymore. They want the Army Corps of Engineers to dump the mud that's dredged up from the Delaware River someplace else. The mayor of Beverly threw a tea party today. Reminiscent of the Boston Tea Party protesting taxes in 1773, the Beverly Tea Party was a quieter event ... but a protest just the same.

Mayor Jean Wetherill says, "We just wanted to make sure we're making a statement that we don't need to have the (Army) Corps of Engineers up here dumping again. We had enough of that for twenty years."

From the 1970's through the 90's the Army Corps of Engineers used a 6-acre site called "the Dunes" to dump spoils dredged from the Delaware River. The mayor says the site is again under consideration and this after major plans have been made to move the local sewage plant and develop the waterfront.

"The plant would be underground and the recreation area would be on top. But we have such little area we can use for park and we want to use it for park," said the mayor.

Demonstrators not only got a cup of hot tea on this cold morning but were asked to plant American flags as a sign of freedom. The dredging is a regular maintenance job but it's a big one and no decision on where to dump has been made. These folks are taking a pro active stand.

Officials say there are other places along the river that make more sense to dump the spoils and some towns that might actually want them. Beverly isn't one of them.