Dare Health Dept. issues Health Advisory after storm-related beach erosion in Buxton

By on September 25, 2023

Sept. 1 photo of an eroded stretch of beach containing old infrastructure. (NPS Photo)

On the afternoon of Sept. 1, Cape Hatteras National Seashore temporarily closed a stretch of beach between the Buxton Beach Access and the area of the Buxton jetties after substantial post-storm beach erosion was observed and reports of a strong smell of fuel were received from visitors.

At the time, the Seashore reported that the beach erosion caused by distant Hurricane Franklin and Tropical Storm Idalia had exposed potentially hazardous infrastructure from a former military site at the end of Old Lighthouse Road in Buxton.

Today, on Sept. 25, the Dare County Department of Health and Human Service issued a Precautionary Public Health Advisory related to that situation.

Here is the advisory.

The Dare County Department of Health & Human Services—in conjunction with North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, Cape Hatteras National Seashore and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—is issuing a precautionary advisory due to impacts from petroleum contaminated soils likely exposed by recent beach erosion near the former U.S. Coast Guard Group Cape Hatteras station area in Buxton at Cape Hatteras National Seashore—from approximately 46285 Old Lighthouse Road to, and including, the first jetty.

Historic military activity occurred in this area during the 1950s and through parts of the 1980s, and samples were taken by the U.S Coast Guard after rangers with Cape Hatteras National Seashore noticed a strong smell of fuel. The testing of the samples indicated the soil contained weathered light fuel oil, a small amount of lubricating oil, petroleum hydrocarbons, and non-petroleum contamination

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard have been actively studying and remediating historic petroleum contamination at the site.

Cheri Pritchard, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said, “We are aware of the situation along the shorelines of Buxton, N.C., and our technical team has made this a priority as they look into the matter…If it is determined the petroleum-contaminated soil is related to a Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does respond to DoD generated contamination that occurred before the property was transferred to private owners or to federal, state, tribal or local government entities.”

Until the petroleum contaminated soils are mitigated, and the area is declared safe, environmental and public health officials recommend:

  •  Avoid swimming, wading or fishing in this area in Buxton at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, from approximately 46285 Old Lighthouse Road, to and including, the first jetty until further notice.
  •  If skin comes in contact with contaminated sediment or water, thoroughly wash the affected area with soap and water.

In addition to the potential health risks related to petroleum contamination, there are a number of remnants of previous U.S. Coast Guard and Naval installations, including concrete bunkers and steel infrastructure that may pose hazards to swimmers, surfers and beach goers.

Additionally, if you live in or near the impacted area and have a private drinking well, it is recommended that you have the well water sampled to ensure it does not contain contaminants. If the well is a drinking water well, please contact the Dare County Department of Health & Human Services at 252.475.5088 to schedule sampling.

If you notice any plumes, sheens, or fish kills in this area, avoid coming into contact with these waters and report these conditions by calling 800.424.8802.

For general information about the Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS), please contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, at 912.652.5673. For FUDS media queries, call the Army Corps at 912.652.5014.



Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at mterrell@barnhillcontracting.com or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).



  • Lil Johnny

    The federal and state governments have the largest superfund sites in the country but yet put the most restrictive regulations on the private land and small business owners . Once again to much Government with to much power.

    Monday, Sep 25 @ 4:58 pm
  • Say no to watermelons

    I don’t really care because nature will take care of itself. Just remember, though, the US Gov’t, especially the military, is the biggest polluter on the planet. Remember that when they want to illegalize gas cars, gas stoves, air conditioning, ceiling fans, etc. Those things are all just communism in a new wrapper. Red wrapped in green like a watermelon. For the climate, or the planet, or whatever, you must be diminished. Reject it!

    Monday, Sep 25 @ 8:34 pm
  • Sven

    The beach replenishment that was recently done was money well spent! It only took 2 months to wash away! Thanks Dare County!

    Monday, Sep 25 @ 8:59 pm
  • Travis

    LOL…came for the article, stayed for the comments just to see how long the unhinged conspiracy theorists took to emerge from the woodwork. So unnecessary. For example, it takes all of a few moments of checking to show the worst superfund sites in the US were not created directly by the government (though one could certainly argue deregulation and lax enforcement contributed).

    Depending on whose metrics you are using, the list of worst sites vary, but inevitably they include mines (privately owned), chemical-heavy industries (privately owned) and landfills (some private, some government-owned). Military bases/facilities always rank up there as do nuclear power plants.

    Tuesday, Sep 26 @ 10:43 am