Carolina Beach Continues Efforts To Restart Lake Dredge Project

Carolina Beach Continues Efforts To Restart Lake Dredge Project

Carolina Beach Continues Efforts To Restart Lake Dredge Project Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 23 October 2019 00:11

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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.

Interim Town Manager Ed Parvin updated the Town Council last week on continuing efforts to restart the project.

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."

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 Military Ocean 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.

On October 18th, Parvin explained to Council, "Staff met with Highfill Engineering this week to discuss a game plan for getting us back in compliance with our MOTSU license agreement and getting the lake dredge and Waste Water Treatment Plant headworks projects moving."

He explained, "I did learn that our testing was positive but unfortunately there are still some contaminates that are above residential levels.  Based on this we are going to develop a short two page letter to MOTSU that lays out a clear plan for getting us in line with state recommendations for the site."

Parvin said that letter will describe several bullet points:
a. The state has a program in place that addresses sites that are not pristine and would take significant time and money to get close to being pristine.  With the prior landfill and other previous uses on and around this site the Town falls into this category.  They will be promoting this program to MOTSU.
b. Provide more details on the future use of the existing dredge material.
c. Provide a Lake Dredge time line and spoils plan.
d. Summary of hurdles the Town has accomplished since 2013 with clean up of the site.
e. Obtaining a support letter from the state.


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