Borough suspends project to address various drainage issues

(Stone Harbor, NJ)— Stone Harbor’s maintenance dredging project is expected to resume over the next few days following a corrective action plan on some water drainage issues associated with a dewatering site located at the 81st Street Municipal Parking Lot.  The Borough, its dredging contractor, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection addressed these issues over the past several days in order to comply with permits associated with the project.

“Public safety remains the number one issue associated with this dredging project, and we paused dredging operations until they were properly and effectively addressed”, said Stone Harbor Mayor Suzanne Walters.  “The integrity of this project and neighboring communities simply will not be compromised whenever an issue arises in a complicated improvement project such as this”.

On Tuesday, December 1st, a geotextile tube that was being used to dewater the dredge materials experienced a tear that released a slurry of material and water in the parking lot.  During this incident, a sump pump was used to pump the slurry back into the North Basin for a period of five minutes resulting in approximately 20,000 gallons of slurry being discharged back into the water.  Included in this slurry was approximately 20 cubic yards of sediment.  Dredging later resumed in the North Basin.

On Friday, December 4th the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection visited the dewatering site and observed effluent water from the geotextile tubes was seeping through a dewatering containment barrier on 80th Street; the water was being discharged back into the bay via storm water drains.  The contractor, Sevenson Environmental Services of Niagra, New York stopped the dredging operation a second time in order to address this issue.

The Borough of Stone Harbor and Sevenson Environmental Services have received all necessary permits from the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to conduct this three-year dredging project.  All dredged materials have met the NJDEP Residential Direct Contact Soil Remediation Standards with the exception of sediments located in the North Basin.  That sediment contains low levels of Benzo(a)Pyrene which exceeds the regulatory limits.  Sources of this compound originate from creosote timber that was used for older bulkheads and pilings; all of that dredged material will be transported to the Kinsley Landfill in Sewell, NJ.

“The need to provide a safe dredging project that complies with our permits exceeds the demands to get as much of this project completed as possible before the spring and summer”, Mayor Walters said.  “We are appreciative of the NJDEP’s inspection of the site and very pleased with the willingness of our contractor to provide corrective measures that ensure permit compliance and maintains the integrity of our back bays, and neighbors in both Stone Harbor and Avalon”.

The contractor continues to reinforce the dewatering containment area at the municipal parking lot to prevent effluent water from migrating off site.  When these efforts are completed and approved, the dredging operations will re-commence.

This maintenance dredging project involves the removal of 100,000 cubic yards of sediment from various navigation channels adjacent to Stone Harbor.  The Borough last dredged these waterways in 2004-’05.