Mayor Says MOTSU Open To Idea Of Storing Dredge Materials

Mayor Says MOTSU Open To Idea Of Storing Dredge Materials

Mayor Says MOTSU Open To Idea Of Storing Dredge Materials Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 30 January 2019 15:58

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina Beach continues to search for options to dispose of material dredged from the Carolina Beach Lake in 2017 as part of a $2.7 million dollar project to create more capacity in the lake to hold storm runoff.

Dredging was suspended August 29th, 2017 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.

Last week Carolina Beach Mayor Joe Benson said the Town has recently had positive conversations with Army officials and may be able to store some of the dredge material on that leased property.

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.

The Town Council originally awarded a bid to Civil Works Contracting in the amount of $2,766,338 during 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 2017, the contractor had removed approximately 30,000 cubic yards of material to the wastewater treatment plant.

The Council ultimately canceled the contract with Civil Works and began looking for alternate locations to dispose of the dredge material placed on Army land.

The cost of transporting the material to a location off the Island presented a problem in terms of increased cost. Concerns about the levels of arsenic discovered in some soil samples also caused concern for those considering taking the material for other construction projects.

The Town has communicated with the U.S. Coast Guard for an easement to access Town-owned land off River Road north of Snow's Cut Bridge. In November 2018, residents living adjacent to that property expressed concern with placement of the material and the potential for environmental impacts including pollution and flood control.

On January 25th, Mayor Benson responded to a question of whether or not  MOTSU officials agreed to allow the Town to place dredge material from the lake on their property. And if so, would that include what has already been removed from the lake as well as finishing the lake dredging project?

Benson explained, "The MOTSU leadership is in support of our desire to place the spoils on our leased property, pending their environmental team and (U.S . Army Corp of Engineers) USACE review. What the MOTSU leadership needs from us, and what Ed will do very soon, is provide them what our terms of a new lease would include; Department of Defense (DoD) instruction offer two generally accepted uses: infrastructure (e.g. Waste Water Treatment) and recreation areas."

The U.S. Army is conducting a Land Use Planning process (JLUS) with local governments to discuss and research compatible land uses surrounding the Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point.

Benson explained, "The JLUS process seems to be the proper time to firm up a longer-term lease, not just a year-to-year arrangement (which we've had for some time). Back to the spoils, if the additional reviews align with the MOTSU leadership's support and Council approval, then we'll need to provide MOTSU with a plan for eventual removal, perhaps as commercial fill or maybe in conjunction with town projects."

He explained, "All that said, we as a Council, will have to, once again, take this up as a measure for approval. Who knows how that might shake out. If all falls in line, we'd probably not restart the dredge project until November, post-high season. Whether we decide to dredge or not, the MOTSU leadership's support underscores something important: a significantly improved relationship based on the Town staff's continued regulatory compliance with the lease agreement terms and other agency requirements."

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