| History of ocean dumping in the Gulf of Mexico - :12784 | Sea Grant Publications
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History of ocean dumping in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Published Date:
Filetype[PDF-2.49 MB]

  • Corporate Authors:
    Texas A & M University, Sea Grant College Program, ; National Sea Grant Program (U.S.) ;
  • Description:
    The Gulf of Mexico is a unique ocean basin covering over 615,000 square miles. It is unique in that more than twenty major river systems in the United States and Mexico drain into this ocean. Through this diverse network two-thirds of the natural sediments and industrial pollutants of the United States find their way into the Gulf. Over 1.5 million square miles of the United States drain into the Gulf through this network. In addition to this, there is runoff from Mexico. The physical and chemical parameters of the Gulf of Mexico are important in assessing the nature of this water body. The main currents, temperature, and salinity are those of most importance. The principle current is a branch of the Equatorial Current which passes through the Florida Straits and constitutes a section of the Gulf Stream. The average winter temperatures are between 65° and 75°F. The summer average is 84°F. The salinity average is determined to be around 36 parts per thousand (ppt). Economically, the Gulf is very productive with respect to shrimp, oysters, and other fish. Offshore oil and gas leases also generate a substantial amount of income. The Gulf of Mexico has also been used as a dumping grounds for the coastal states. Initially there was no control over dumping, but the Corps of Engineers was eventually given authority to overview this practice. Then in 1973, the Environmental Protection Agency took over and imposed a stringent permit system and designated specific dump sites. Eight separate permits were issued since then to industries. This paper discusses each permit issued and the contents of the permit. The different methods of discharging wastes vary and are also presented.

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  • Funding:
    Funding: NOAA Office of Sea Grants; grant number: 04-6-158-44012;
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