The Justice Department announced a settlement last week with Atkinson Dredging Co. of federal government claims for civil damages stemming from bid rigging on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredging projects.

Under the terms of the settlement, Atkinson, of Chesapeake, Va., will pay $235,000 to the government, which will not file suit for damages against Atkinson.

The agreement does not cover all of the damages suffered by the government as a result of bid rigging on dredging projects, and the government still can seek additional damages from other liable persons or firms, according to Justice. The company had no comment.

In October, Atkinson Dredging Co. and its president, William S. Hull, pleaded guilty to criminal charges of rigging bids on a dredging project in Wilmington. The company was fined $200,000; Hull was placed on probation for two years and fined $50,000.

Mark Leddy, deputy assistant attorney general in charge of the investigation into bid rigging, said the settlement resulted from a probe of the dredging industry on the southeast Atlantic Coast.

"An important part of our program to prosecute bid rigging in federal procurement will be to seek civil penalties and damages where appropriate, in addition to criminal penalties," he said.

The investigation, conducted with the help of the Pentagon's Defense Criminal Investigation Service, is continuing and involves projects authorized by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The corps, as part of its responsibility for maintaining federally authorized waterways, awards contracts for port dredging.