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Problematic lake dredging project in Carolina Beach could resume soon

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 2:27 PM EDT
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CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - It’s a project that started roughly four years ago, a seemingly simple plan to dredge the lake at Carolina Beach Lake Park that turned into a headache for everyone involved.

The multi-million dollar project was supposed to remove materials from the lake and the town had permission to fill a basin on federal government property at the Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point (MOTSU), however, instead of filling the basin, the former town manager decided to put the materials near it instead.

Carolina Beach terminates dredging contract

This prompted MOTSU to issue an order to the town telling officials they could no longer use their property to dump the spoils, plus, they had to remove what they had put on their land.

The project was supposed to help with flooding issues by allowing the lake to handle more stormwater during heavy-rain events. Initially, the project was supposed to dredge more than 80,000 cubic yards of material from the lake which would have given the lake around 16 million gallons worth of stormwater holding. When the project was halted, the town had completed less than half of that. Ultimately it cost $1.4 million to dredge less than 33,000 cubic yards of material.

Despite the setbacks, the town has always talked about restarting the project.

“Well, it certainly is something that needs to be done for the safety of Carolina beach to have that stormwater area for it to go to. We gained 6 million gallons of capacity with the first dredge so we need that capacity but we’re working with MOTSU on properties and looking for other areas,” Mayor LeAnn Pierce said.

Town Manager Bruce Oakley said the town has been working with MOTSU to rebuild their relationship and seeking alternate locations to dump the dredging spoils.

“The county landfill is one place, we’ve talked about building a bulkhead and storing some dredge spoils there. We’ve also talked about Geotext bags that would help de-water the materials. So, we’re looking at all kinds of options and our engineers have been working hard and we expect some pretty good alternatives to present to council,” Oakley said.

Right now, there is no set timeline for the project to resume but Oakley said he along with town staff are working to move it forward as soon as possible.

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