Dare County requests immediate action to restore Buxton Beach

By on March 5, 2024

Buxton Beach Access on Old Lighthouse Road Sept. 1, 2023, after Tropical Storm Idalia. (Photo: National Park Service)

Reprinted from CoastalReview.org

Citing threats to the environment and public safety, the Dare County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution Monday that requests that the Coast Guard take immediate action to restore the Buxton beach access to its “pre-military condition.”

Commissioner Danny Couch presented the resolution during the board’s regular meeting in Manteo. The resolution asks the Coast Guard, as the designated federal on-scene coordinator for the coastal zone in North Carolina, to take immediate action to rectify oil discharge into the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent shoreline and remove remaining infrastructure debris.

This situation is concerning, “not just from an environmental standpoint, but from a public safety standpoint as well,” Couch said.

The area at Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s Buxton beach access at the south end of Old Lighthouse Road served as a military base for both the Navy and Coast Guard from 1956 until 2010, according to the National Park Service website.

The Army Corps of Engineers approved in 1998 the Buxton Beach Access as a Formerly Used Defense Site and began responding to petroleum contamination there.

On Sept. 1, 2023, visitors reported that erosion from two storms “uncovered potentially hazardous infrastructure associated with the Navy and Coast Guard bases and visitors reported a strong smell of petroleum,” and reported these concerns to the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Spill Response Center.

“Due to decades-long military usage and apparently incomplete restoration of the area, samples taken from the Buxton Beach Access beach tested positive in early September 2023, for petroleum-contaminated soils (PCS). Additionally, due to coastal erosion, abandoned facilities, construction debris, and septic systems associated with historic Navy and Coast Guard activities have been observed along the beach adjacent to the Buxton Beach Access,” the website states.

Most recently on Feb. 9, park staff noticed “a very strong smell of petroleum products and multiple surfers reported that their wetsuits and hair smelled like fuel and noticed a sheen on the water near Buxton Beach Access,” according to the website. Reports were again submitted to the National Response Center.

“Why should we be concerned about the closing of this beach here? I’ll tell you why,” Couch told the board. “Because it’s not a good look for National Seashore” to have houses crumbling into the ocean in Rodanthe because of erosion “and then to have crime tape” cordoning off the debris on the beach ranked No. 4 in the U.S. by Dr. Beach.

Dr. Beach is an author and director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University who ranks beaches at drbeach.org.

The area in Buxton is also where where the county has committed to preserving N.C. Highway 12 infrastructure, Couch noted.

“I’m just curious if this exact scenario had washed up on the beaches of, I don’t know, Martha’s Vineyard or the Hamptons on Long Island. Would we still be begging pleading for someone to please remediate this dangerous and unhealthy situation?” Commissioner Bob Ross asked during the meeting.

Commissioner Bob Woodard noted during the meeting that he, the vice chair and the county manager were going to travel to Washington, D.C., and, “this will be one of our top subject matters when we meet with our legislators.”

 


BIDDER PRE-QUALIFICATION REQUEST:

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).


 



Comments

  • Greg

    The Department of Defense needs to get this cleanup job done now. The military has always had pollution issues.

    Tuesday, Mar 5 @ 11:16 am
  • surf123

    Resolutions are nothing but grandstanding. They have zero significance and do not solve any problems, but at least everyone but feel good about themselves. Just stay away from the area.

    Tuesday, Mar 5 @ 11:24 am
  • Carol Dillon

    Beach nourishment in Buxton will not work without stabilization. Two have been done, you need to look at the bigger picture of what a barrier island is. Dredging both ends of a barrier island removing the much needed sand to nourish those beaches, just putting sand down will not work.
    I was born in Buxton in 1956, lived and have businesses in Buxton, both beach nourishments have not worked. I was definitely for trying it, because we went 42 years since 1973 since a beach nourishment had been done but it will not work.

    Tuesday, Mar 5 @ 7:41 pm
  • Travis

    Carol is spot on. Beach nourishment **can** work under the right conditions, but those conditions are not ideal in the Buxton area. Make the strategy fit the problem.

    Thursday, Mar 7 @ 3:13 pm