Wynn Receives Draft Chapter 91 License for Dredging Mystic River

By Seth Daniel

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has awarded a draft Chapter 91 waterways license to Wynn Boston Harbor for its upcoming dredging program.

The license is subject to a 21-day appeal period and was granted on Aug. 29, so if there are no appeals, it will take effect on Sept. 19.

The letter of draft approval came from DEP Section Chief Ben Lynch last week, and would allow Wynn to begin one of its final pieces of clean up and remediation of the site – including removing four unsightly wooden barges dumped years ago in the inlet by unknown parties.

Wynn officials have said and continued to say that they have always intended to start their dredging and harbor clean up process in October. The potential granting of the license on Sept. 19 helps keep them right on schedule.

Wynn will be mechanically dredging about 14,080 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the waterway over an area of 190,780 sq. ft. As part of the dredging, they will be placing about 21,130 cubic yards of clean fill on the dredged area. That will create an 18-inch thick remediation cap on the bottom of the area.

Wynn will be using barges to gather the materials and will ship them out on barges to a facility that handles contaminated sea soils. Wynn has said, and maintained in its permit, that they would not be using trucks to haul away the dredged materials.

In addition to the dredging, four barges that have been abandoned in the inlet for several years will also be removed – eliminating a very ugly distraction along the waterfront of the $2.4 billion resort hotel.

Finally, the permit allows Wynn to install and maintain a 15’ x 34’ outfall pipe protection system with 18 cubic yards of 8-inch stone to be used for bedding.

The permit comes at the perfect time environmentally, as dredging on the Mystic River is actually prohibited between Feb. 15 and Sept. 15 due to fish spawning and migrations within the River. That also includes protections for shellfish development.

Wynn proposes to create a 65-foot channel to its property via the dredging, and has said previously it will complete the work within four months.

Getting the license is critical this fall due to the limited times one can work due to the fish migration restrictions. Had they not got the license in time, the dredging would have had to be pushed back until much closer to the opening of the casino – which wasn’t desirable given the program related to boats and water shuttles.

The license is subject is granted for 30 years, and the dredging component is good for five years.

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