Council To Discuss Lake Dredging Project During April 24th Workshop

(File photo) A $2.7 million dollar project to dredge the Carolina Beach Lake to hold additional storm water began earlier last year. On August 29th, the U.S. Army demanded the Town stop hauling dirt to land leased to the Town since the 1970's for a wastewater treatment plant off Dow Road.  The Town was placing the dirt at an unapproved location. Now the Town is searching for alternate locations. The Council will discuss whether to continue the project during their April 24th workshop. (File photo) A $2.7 million dollar project to dredge the Carolina Beach Lake to hold additional storm water began earlier last year. On August 29th, the U.S. Army demanded the Town stop hauling dirt to land leased to the Town since the 1970's for a wastewater treatment plant off Dow Road. The Town was placing the dirt at an unapproved location. Now the Town is searching for alternate locations. The Council will discuss whether to continue the project during their April 24th workshop.

Council To Discuss Lake Dredging Project During April 24th Workshop Featured

By / Local News / الأربعاء, 21 آذار/مارس 2018 17:44

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CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council will hold a workshop on April 24th to discuss the future on a project to finish dredging the Carolina Beach Lake as well as the cost of disposing of material already removed from the Lake being held on Army property off Dow Road.

Carolina Beach Town Manager Michael Cramer updated Council during their January 9th, meeting on the status of completing a project to dredge the Carolina Beach Lake on Lake Park Blvd.

The Town Council voted unanimously to terminate a contract with Civil Works Contracting to dredge the Carolina Beach Lake  during their December 12th, meeting. The Town continues to search for alternate locations to dispose of soil dredged from the Lake.

Dredging was suspended August 29th after the U.S. Army expressed concerns about dredge material removed from the lake being deposited at the wrong location on Army land off Dow Road.

On November 28th, Town Manager Michael Cramer recommended the Council consider terminating the contract until a future time when work can resume under a new contract.

In October the Town was notified that owners of one alternate location changed their minds about taking on the material following soil tests which showed higher levels of arsenic.

That land is located north of Snow's Cut Bridge in the undeveloped portion  of a new residential neighborhood.

Cramer explained on Monday November 20th, the Town has contacted the U.S. Coast Guard about obtaining access to property on River Road just north of Carolina Beach in order to access property the Town owns behind the Coast Guard land. The Town operates a waste water treatment plant on land leased from the Army since the 1970's on Dow Road on the west side of the Island. The land is part of the buffer zone for the U.S. Army Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point (MOTSU). The terminal is one of two large volume deep-water ammunition terminals in the continental United States. Operations are located on the other side of the Cape Fear River in Brunswick County and the "buffer zone" occupies a large portion of Pleasure Island encompassing land in both Carolina Beach and Kure Beach on  the riverside of the Island.

Cramer said he was still awaiting a decision from MOTSU on how the Town should deal with the material already placed on the property.

Cramer said the Town had a third round of soil testing conducted in the lake area and the material already deposited on  the Army land.

He explained, “We expanded our search in order to go and try and get a finer degree of information that we could look at and give to regulators on what we could do with the spoils. Basically what came back was that the baseline for the area outside of the lake and MOTSU contains no arsenic. The water in the lake itself contains no arsenic. The ground water under and around the lake and MOSTU contains no arsenic. The soil that we took out of the lake and put onto the MOTSU property contains no arsenic. All good news. What we found is that we didn’t confirm that there is arsenic left in the material that is in the lake. Not exactly the pin point precision of exactly where the line of demarcation is, but we do know that out of six samples that were taken, three of them had hits of arsenic. Two of them above the commercial and industrial level. The next step in this process is to go and test and find exactly where that is and determine how much material that may provide and then determine can we do other dredging in that area but not disturb that soil, or, if we do take out that soil, where can we put it."

Previous tests showed higher levels of arsenic and suggest that the material is suitable for placement on a commercial parcel, but may not be suitable for placement in residential areas or for structural use.

Cramer said he’s been speaking with various state agencies, “All to try and determine exactly what or what cannot be done with the material and where it could or could not go. At this point our permit says that we can place it anywhere but that does not necessarily mean that you have all the permits that you have to for a specific site to contain that. So that is sort of our next step in this gathering of information so that Council can make a good solid decision on where to go from this point forward."

The Town Council awarded a bid to Civil Works Contracting in the amount of $2,766,338 during their January 10th, meeting to dredge the lake. The goal is to make the lake deeper to a consistent depth of 6' to 8' feet and improve capacity to hold approximately 16 million gallons of storm water runoff that has traditionally caused flooding of surrounding properties and roadways. The total volume to be removed from the lake was estimated to be approximately 83,000 cubic yards of material. The original completion date for the project was scheduled for February 9th, 2018.

When the project was suspended August 29th, the contractor had removed approximately 30,000 cubic yards of material to the wastewater treatment plant.

Guidelines sent to the Town by MOTSU officials called for removal of the material already placed on their property within three to five years. The cost of moving that material is unknown due to a lack of a alternate disposal location. Distance of travel plays a major role in terms of cost to transport the dirt.

Cramer explained, "On August 29, 2017 the Town suspended the Lake Dredging Contract with Civil Works Construction LLC due to issues with spoils placement at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.  Since that time the town has performed additional soil studies on the material at the Wastewater Treatment Plant and the remaining soil in the lake.  In order to move forward with the project more time, up to 6 months of additional time, will be necessary to complete the additional permits applications and finalize another disposal location for the spoils.  It is not fair nor appropriate that the town to continue the current contract with CWC, while working through the permitting requirements.  The Town Manager recommends that the current contract be terminated and preparations for a future phase of the Lake Dredge Project move forward."

During the Council's December 12th, meeting Cramer explained, "At this point it would be unfair to the contractor to hold out a contract term for an additional six months and it would be unfair to the citizens of Carolina Beach to have construction or the lake area deconstructed for an additional six months as we wait until we get all of our paper work in order. It's because of those reasons that I've recommended termination" of the contract.

During the Council's January 9th, 2018 meeting Cramer explained, "Currently as all of you know, the contract has been terminated. We have been working with the contractor to establish what things need to be addressed on the property at the lake. What equipment needs to be removed and what items need to be returned back to their original condition. We are hopeful that will start up here pretty soon and that it shouldn't take long for us to clean up the site and finish off that portion of the project."

He explained, "As we've been doing that we've also been looking for other ways to go and finish off the lake dredge project. We've been exploring numerous opportunities for places to put the spoils and also regulatory approval for that type of a project. Right now we've contacted all of the regulatory agencies and believe we are on our way to getting approval to be able place the material on a piece of town property just behind the [Coast Guard] Loran Station" off River Road north of Snow's Cut Bridge.

He explained, "That's moving along. The last hurdle associated with that is working with the Coast Guard to receive an easement so we can get back to our property. We're anticipating that will still take several months to work through that process. During that time you will see boats and activity in the water at the lake. We will be doing additional testing so that we can define the exact location of the containments that we have in the lake and determine how much material can be removed and how much may have to stay or what we should do with those remaining spoils."

Councilman JoDan Garza questioned whether or not Cramer had an idea what it will cost to access the Town property behind the Coast Guard land.

Cramer explained, "Not yet, no. We are currently trying to make sure that we are able to get back there before we start spending the engineering costs that it would take to determine how much the road will cost."

Council member Leann Pierce asked, "Do you have any idea when you'll get an answer on that?"

Cramer explained, "No I really don't. Right now we are waiting for one state organization to get back with us and tell us whether or not there is an issue on the site for tribal aspects. We don't believe there is. Once that gets in then we will send in the appropriate documentation and information to the Coast Guard and ask them for the easement. Most likely, in my conversations with the Coast Guard, it won't take too long before they are able to say that they would agree to doing an easement. I'm expecting it easily will take another couple of months to get through that process."

Pierce said, "Access to that property is something we need anyway whether we use it for that purpose or not."

Cramer explained, "We had general estimates, staff estimates, that we've taken just from the length of property that we would have to cross and how much stone we would need. The things that are complicating that is what other types of things the Coast Guard may require of us. If we have to put up fencing. Things like that are unknowns. At this point I'm kind of expecting that if we are able to just go across and we would do the timbering ourselves and put in a road, it's probably anywhere in the $50,000 to $75,000 range to go and establish that. On top of that you have things like fencing and other things they may require."

On March 18th, Mayor Joe Benson posted on Facebook, "Friends, a deep-dive on lake dredging is on the schedule for the April 24th Town workshop; the workshop starts at [6:00pm]. Lots of information will be shared, and options laid out. To dredge or not to dredge, that is the question."

Benson explained, "I’d say hold what we have, though I’m not hard up one way or the other. I’d make my call weighing the data and a “referendum-like vote. MOTSU is not an option, though there may be a few other options for taking the dredge material. We’ll need to prepare town property across the bridge, which is where it’d all go barring someplace closer accepting."
He explained in another post, "My bet is the dredge material ends up on our 5 acres of land inside the old [Coast Guard] Loran Station. Getting to that point is about $300K, which is in addition to the remainder of the dredging budget - $1.2M (approximately)."

Benson said there will be a case presented against restarting the dredging project because of new more efficient pumps and drainage lines installed at and around the Lake which can remove more water  at a faster rate prior to intense rainfall events in order to help mitigate flooding of surrounding areas.

Town Manager Michael Cramer said on Monday March 19th, reviews have been conducted by the Coast Guard and various other state and federal agencies and now he's waiting to hear from the Army Corp of Engineers regarding obtaining an access easement across the Coast Guard property off River Road. That would allow the Town to transport the existing dredge material located on the Army's property off Dow Road to the Town's property behind the Coast Guard land off River Road.

The April 24th, workshop meeting starts at 6PM in the Council meeting room at Town Hall.


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