Carolina Beach Working To Resume Lake Dredging Project

(Pictured above:) Crews working in 2017 to dredge the Carolina Beach Lake to improve storm water management prior to the Town suspending the project because they could not place the material on Army property. (Pictured above:) Crews working in 2017 to dredge the Carolina Beach Lake to improve storm water management prior to the Town suspending the project because they could not place the material on Army property.

Carolina Beach Working To Resume Lake Dredging Project Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 28 August 2019 13:50

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 when 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 on the property.

Later, it was determined that some samples showed increased levels of arsenic in the dredged material which in later tests showed below normal levels.

The search maybe on track for a positive solution. In recent months Mayor Joe Benson has said the Army may be open to allowing the Town to resume the project and place the remaining material on Army-owned property.

The east side of the lake is more shallow than the western half that was dredged in 2017.

The goal of that project was 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.

The Town is currently seeking approval from the Army to leave the existing dredge material on the Dow Road property and exploring the potential to place more material on the property in order to complete the dredging project.

In September of 2018, the estimated cost for removal of the remaining dirt on the leased property and completing the project ranged from $3,146,198 to $4,054,333.

The broad range of cost estimates was due in large part to contractors being unwilling to give estimates prior to the Town officially soliciting bids for the project.

During the Council's August 13th, meeting Interim Town Manager Ed Parvin explained, "We have been in contact with MOTSU on a very frequent basis and they are talking to headquarters and as soon as they get an update, they will know that we are very anxious to find out their update. Essentially they are looking for us to get back in compliance with the state. Which means all of our test wells that we have to be below state standards as far as any containments, mainly oil that was there from the old garage site. We are very close. We are trying to meet with our consultant that is doing the  testing and officials with the state later this month."
Mayor Joe Benson said numerous staff members with the Army will have to give their feedback before their superiors sign off on any agreement.

Parvin explained, "We've already been talking to an engineering firm about getting the permitting and everything back in place. We are kind of on hold until we get something from MOTSU saying they can move forward."

Councilman Jodan Garza pointed out the Town should consider a contingency plan if an agreement with the Army to place more material on the leased property does not occur.

On August 23rd, Garza explained, " Yes the project has been on hold for 2 years, it weighs heavy on my mind, as I am sure it does for the rest of council. Currently it is a bit of an eye sore, and yes two years is a bit of time. We are truly trying to find the best solution."

He explained, "After the project was put on hold, it appeared our relationship with MOTSU was a bit rocky, so council looked for the most financially feasibly option. Which at the time was looking into putting that material on the 5 acre lot of land over the bridge. But this option would put the cost significantly higher than what was budgeted. We know that the best option, is what the town originally planned for, to have MOTSU allow us to put the material on their property. As of now, we know its the best option financially."

Garza explained, "In the past year we have worked strides to mend the relationship with MOTSU. Now thus, allowing us to look into redoing a new lease agreement that would allow us to leave the spoils in place for the next 3-5yrs. which, during that time frame, we would work on removing the material and cleaning the area back up to their standards. Though, before we can move forward, the very first thing we have to do is be in compliance with their standards. With that being said. Our Project Manager and Waste Water Treatment Plant staff are scheduling a meeting with our environmental consultant (ECS) and the State to find out how we can expedite the process to get us back in compliance. And once we are in compliance, then we can work on moving as quickly as we can on this project."

During the Council's August 27th, workshop meeting, Parvin explained, "MOTSU, our project manager, waste water treatment plant staff, are working to get that moving as quickly as possible. We are finalizing a contract to get the lake dredge project back on track and as I mentioned earlier, trying to get the testing done as quickly as possible."

The Army operates the Terminal at Sunny Point (MOTSU) on the west side of the Cape Fear River and they are currently working with neighboring local governments regarding land use in the area. The terminal is one of two large volume deep-water ammunition terminals in the continental United States. Operations take place 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.

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