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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Cost of lake dredging in Carolina Beach could increase by 500K

 

Excavators sit idly by in Carolina Beach while the town tries to find a location to dump dredging spoils after a misunderstanding with MOTSU (Port City Daily photo/MICHAEL PRAATS)
Excavators sit idly by in Carolina Beach while the town tries to find a location to dump dredging spoils after a misunderstanding with MOTSU (Port City Daily photo / MICHAEL PRAATS)

CAROLINA BEACH — When the Town of Carolina Beach was told it had to stop dumping the spoils from its lake dredging project on U.S. military property, the town was suddenly faced with several issues. After more than one month, there are still questions that need answers.

Town Manager Michael Cramer updated Town Council Tuesday evening on staff’s progress with the logistical dilemmas facing the project, from finding a new location to dump the dredging materials to the increased cost of completing the project.

Since Aug. 29, the town has stopped all dumping of lake dredging materials on Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point (MOTSU) property after being told it was in violation of the original agreement. Staff has since been searching for a new place for the soil.

“We have been looking for alternative sites to place the spoils for the dredge project. One of the difficulties of that is the fact that when we went through the permitting process with the Corps of Engineers and the state erosion control, they gave us authorization to dispose of the materials because we knew the specific location … because we wanted to change that and find other disposal locations we had to go back through the process …” Cramer said.

Cramer said the town has been looking for new locations to place the dredging material off Pleasure Island and south of Monkey Junction, but has run into a problem that most of the locations that were willing to take the clean-fill wanted dry material, not wet. Because the material is not dry, Cramer said it requires more room so it can be spread out and dried before use.

Town staff has narrowed down the locations for potential land where they can dispose of the fill material, and the Corps of Engineers has granted the town a new permit allowing the disposal of the spoils anywhere that will accept it and has state and federal permits.

Cramer said he is hopeful that the town will be able to reach an agreement with a property owner this week to dispose of the material, and hopefully by the end of the month resume the dredging.

What about cost?

There are several aspects to the town’s misunderstanding with MOTSU that can lead to an increase in total cost for the project which already was approximately $2.8 million.

The purpose of dredging the lake was to help alleviate storm water issues and flooding by allowing for more water to be stored in the reservoir.

“Our intent was to dredge approximately 83,000 cubic yards of material from the lake, that would give us the ability to hold as much as 16 million gallons of storm water in that facility,” Cramer said.

The dredging project in Carolina Beach was supposed to remove 83,000 cubic yards of material to allow for a greater storm water capacity (Port City Daily Photo/MICHAEL PRAATS)
The dredging project in Carolina Beach was supposed to remove 83,000 cubic yards of material to allow for a greater storm water capacity (Port City Daily Photo / MICHAEL PRAATS)

Now, since the contractor must take the dredging spoils off the island the cost associated with the project will increase.

To help keep the project in budget, Cramer suggested instead of removing the full 83,000 cubic yards, the town reduce the amount to approximately 55,000 cubic yards.

“The initial goal was to try and make the general depth of the lake between 6 and 8 feet. This would basically make so it would be somewhere between 5 and 6 feet,” Cramer said.

If the town decided to move forward with Cramer’s recommendation it would allow the lake to hold 11 million gallons worth of capacity instead of the full 16 million. If the town were to keep the dredging goal at 83,000 cubic yards, Cramer said he estimates it would cost an additional $500,000.

“Originally, we approved a project to do 83,000 cubic yards to solve a storm water problem for the community … if we’re going to do it, do we do it right or do we do 60 percent of the project,” Town Councilman Steve Shuttleworth said.

Another cost that could be associated with the project would be the removal of the material already placed on MOTSU property if the Army asks the town to do so.

The fate of the project is still uncertain, but Cramer said he is hopeful and believes staff has made progress with MOTSU as well as finding locations to dispose of the material. If council decides it wants to complete the project to the original specifications financing options will have to be sought out.


Michael Praats can be reached at Michael.p@localvoicemedia.com

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