July 15, 2014 11:34

Business Talk

Sand Replenishment Project

A joint project between New York City and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will place 3.5 million cubic yards of sand along the entire stretch of Rockaway Beach by the fall, officials said. It’s part of a larger plan to rebuild the boardwalk and beef up the beaches to withstand future storms.

Mechanical problems are preventing the Corps’ contractors from pumping sand. A new dredging machine has been ordered in an effort to resume work in short order.

Sand is being pumped day and night onto Rockaway Beach, the most eroded—and busiest—stretch of shoreline. Residents use the beach for recreation and rely on it for protection from the roaring Atlantic Ocean.

“We understand the significance of that location,” said Ken Wells, chief of public affairs for the Army Corps. “These jobs are complicated and require high-powered equipment.”

Sinkholes in South Carolina

The city of North Augusta appears to have developed a sinkhole problem. Over the past year, the city has discovered two large sinkholes along its paved Greeneway Trail.

The sinkholes were caused by an excess of rain, combined with the failure of a 108-year-old culvert 40 feet below the trail. The bigger of the two resulting sinkholes “was so large that it took 30 truckloads of dirt to fill it in,” said North Augusta Parks and Recreation Director Rick Meyer.

The dirt, however, is only a temporary fix. Officials are worried that more rain could wash out a section of the already sinking Greeneway if permanent erosion control measures are not put into place. Currently, the plan is to install a new 72-inch pipe in place of the old 48-inch one, at a price of about $1 million.

State Board Tasked to Solve Erosion Problems

A 13-member Coastal Erosion Commission has been established to address continued erosion along the Massachusetts coastline.

From Salisbury Beach to Race Point on Cape Cod, the state’s coast is disappearing, due to rising sea levels and devastating storms.

The new board is expected to draw up proposals in the next six months to tackle the problem.

Plans could include moving buildings from the water’s edge, building artificial barriers, elevating structures on pilings, or re-nourishing beaches with sand.

New England coastal waters are rising at an annual rate three to four times faster than the global average, according to the state Office of Coastal Zone Management. Nearly 85 percent of the state’s 6.7 million residents live within 50 miles of the coast, according to U.S. Census figures.

Water Supply Project Causes Erosion

A water supply improvement project in Kennewick, Washington, has had some unintended and unfortunate effects on nearby land.

The city was testing for a $4 million project to store water in a nearby aquifer, but the discharge of about 35 million gallons of water opened up a gully 50' wide and 25' deep in the adjacent canyon and irrigation ditch. The erosion ripped a divide in trails and left silt deposited behind the Zintel Canyon Dam.

One hiker, who was upset, said, “The damage presents a serious safety hazard, with no warning signs posted for the still-unstable ground along the gully.”

The city is attempting to fix the steeper portions of the damage to the canyon and irrigation ditch. It will also have to remove sediment and repair the canyon walls. There is no estimate yet of the costs.

Impaired River to be Restored

The Soil and Water Conservation District for Delaware County, Indiana, has secured an $187,750 grant to help the Upper Mississinewa River recover from sediment and other damages.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management awarded the grant partially because of the strong local partnerships supporting the operation.

Potential sources of pollution to the river include land application of manure, failing septic systems, and lawn and farm fertilizer.

The goal of the project is to improve the river for drinking water purposes and recreational opportunities.

The grant will fund the observation of the Upper Mississinewa’s chemistry, fish, aquatic insects and E. coli bacteria concentrations for a year.

Homeowner Sues for Damages due to Soil Erosion

A homeowner in Missouri has filed a lawsuit against Summit Natural Gas for damages caused by their work. When contractors working for Summit Natural Gas buried a service line on the homeowner’s property, they moved but did not replace timbers she had installed. They also did not install dam checks or other erosion-control devices. When it rained, water carried mud and debris downhill and through a side door, flooding her basement. That caused $29,698.18 in damages from buckled wooden floors, ruined carpets and mold.

Summit Natural Gas has been accused of similar shortcomings by a number of nearby residents. Several have had their property dug up without permission and then suffered damages when rainwater washed out the areas.

Debris from Plant Matter Used to Control Erosion

Public Works crews in Okanogan County, Texas, have done some clever erosion-prevention work on surfaces that are too steep or otherwise unfit for other methods.

The crews are helping to curb erosion of steep, vulnerable slopes above Texas Creek by incorporating organic matter into the slopes’ surface.

The organic matter, which consists mostly of broken tree branches and mulch-like particles, was mixed into the soil with the teeth of an excavator.

The method is designed to stabilize the sandy, unstable soil. “Incorporating organic matter into the sandy soil on steep slopes is a good way to stabilize the slopes,” said the Okanogan County Engineer. “Reducing sloughing of the soil will encourage growth of vegetation.”

There was concern that debris could fall into Texas Creek below, but an officer from the Department of Fish and Wildlife determined it’s not an issue.

Major Erosion Prompts New Road

Officials are searching for a solution to address increasing erosion along the Sheboygan County coast in Wisconsin that has worsened in recent years.

“Groundwater seeping out into the bluffs is causing most of the damage,” said Greg Schnell, Sheboygan County transportation director. “To prevent things from getting worse, we’re planning to remove about a mile stretch of lakefront road in Sheboygan County. Once it’s removed, we’re going to build a new road to the west, behind the affected properties.”

Sheboygan County will be spending about $2.7 million on the lakefront road removal and building the new road to the west.

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In many ways, we are fortunate that, in our chosen profession, we are able to help people when certain disasters occur: the tornadoes in Missouri, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Georgia, the flooding in Louisiana, the snows in the northeastern part of the country, the rain in California, and the snow in Colorado....

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