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 Contracting Company will receive sealed proposals for Manns Harbor – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-8), Kitty Hawk – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-9), Manteo – Youth Center on January 09, 2024. Times to be given on via addendum #01. See the following SCOPE OF WORK: BP 100 – General Trades, BP 105 – Final Cleaning, BP 205 – Demolition, BP 390 – Turnkey Concrete, BP 400 – Turnkey Masonry, BP 500 – Turnkey Structural Steel & Misc. Steel, BP 505 – Light Gauge Metal Trusses, BP 740 – Roofing, BP750 – Siding, BP 790 – Caulking/Sealants, BP 800 – Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware/Toilet Specialties/Accessories/Division 10, BP 840 – Curtainwall/Storefront/Glass/Glazing, BP 925 – Drywall/Framing, BP 960 – Resilient Flooring/Carpet/Base/Epoxy, BP 980 – Acoustical Ceilings, BP 990 – Painting and Wall Coverings, BP 1230 – Finish Carpentry and Casework, BP 1250 – Window Treatments, BP 2100 – Fire Protection, BP 2200 – Plumbing, BP 2300 – HVAC, BP 2600 – Electrical, BP 3100 – Earthwork/Turnkey Site, BP 3213- Site Concrete, BP 3290 – Landscaping. Scopes of work may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager.

Bid Location and Time: Bid opening will be held in the Barnhill Contracting Rocky Mount Training & GPS Technology Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Time is as follows: January 09, 2024 at 10:00am and 2:00pm. Times per packages to be given on via addendum #01.

Barnhill Contracting Company will receive, open, and read publicly all bids received in person in the Training & GPS Technology Room at the main office and listed with the virtual viewing at the link to be posted on Barnhill’s Plan Room.

Bids will not be accepted from bidders that are not pre-qualified. No facsimile or email submissions are permitted. Sealed bids are to be hand delivered to the bid opening location noted above or mailed Sealed Bids can be delivered before 9:00am the day of the bid to the Barnhill Contracting Company Office at 800 Tiffany Blvd., Suite 200 Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Attention “Clint Hardison.”

The pre-bid meeting will be held in Person & Zoom Meeting on December 06, 2023 at 10:00 am at the Barnhill Contracting’s Rocky Mount Main Conference Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804.

The pre-bid meeting link can be located on Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room ( https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b) and below. A preferred brand alternates meeting will be held via the same link at the end of the Prebid meeting.

Bid Documents can be viewed or downloaded through Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room (https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b) after 12/04/2023.

All Bidders are strongly encouraged to include opportunities for HUB participation wherever possible in their respective Bid submission.  HUB participation is a part of this contract and must comply with all requirements set forth in the Bid Documents.

The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to add pre-qualified bidders. The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to reject any and all bids. Should you require additional direction, please call Barnhill Contracting Company, (Clint Hardison – 252-802-0740).

Clint Hardison is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Dare EMS – Phase 2 Pre-Bid Conference

Time: Dec 6, 2023 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 823 9069 2985

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  • 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