PORTLAND — The City Council last week approved a $20 million federal grant application to fund a long-awaited dredging of sections of Portland Harbor.

The $20 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development grant would pay for roughly two-thirds of the $30 million project, which will “provide safe and full tide access to berthing, loading and marine support services” by removing 244,000 cubic yards of sediment around wharves and piers in Portland and South Portland.

Some harbor areas have not been dredged for more than 70 years. Portland Waterfront Manager Bill Needelman told the Forecaster last year tht sediment had closed off 10% to 30% of the berths in Waterfront Central Zone piers.

The grant would be matched by $5 million from the Maine Department of Transportation and $5 million from city funding and benefiting property owners, who will be charged an estimated $20.40 tipping fee per cubic yard of material removed from their property. The project may also be partially funded through a $25,000 grant from the Maine Technology Institute.

“It’s been six or seven years we’ve been working on this project. We are at the final stages seeking federal funding,” City Manager Jon Jennings said.

Material would be disposed of in a confined area near the Coast Guard Station in South Portland.

As of now, the disposal area would be created in 2021 and 2022, with dredging estimated to be completed by 2027.