Ferry will pay fine in dumping case
Fishers Island Ferry District has agreed to pay $200,000 to settle civil claims for violations of the Rivers and Harbors Act, which prohibits discharges of refuse matter from any ship into navigable waters of the United States.
According to the complaint, overboard discharge valves for the sewage holding tanks on two ferry boats operated between Fishers Island, N.Y., and New London, Conn., were in the open position from 2000 to 2004.
According to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, “keeping and maintaining the overboard discharge valves in the open position allowed hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage and untreated sludge to be discharged into the Thames River and Long Island Sound.”
The Coast Guard discovered the violations during an unannounced inspection on the vessels while they were berthed at the Fishers Island Ferry terminal in New London in July 2004.
Kevin J. O’Connor, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, said that, according to the stipulation and order filed with the complaint, Fishers Island Ferry District, as owner and operator of the vessels, agreed to pay to the United States a civil penalty of $186,418, plus interest payments totaling $13,582, for a total settlement amount of $200,000.
The first payment of $50,000 has been received by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The Fishers Island Ferry District will make three subsequent payments in each of the next three years.
In 2005 Mark Easter, the Fishers Island ferry operations manager, pled guilty to two counts of violating Sections 407 and 411 of the Rivers and Harbors Act. He was sentenced on Jan. 31, 2006 to 30 days of imprisonment and fined $10,000 for the unlawful sewage discharges.