Posted September 12, 2017
The ongoing Absecon Island beach fill and dune project has been completed in Ventnor and will move to Longport next week.
Meanwhile, as ponding continues to be an issue following recent rain and water is being pumped to the ocean by the subcontractor, the city of Margate is negotiating a proposal for a permanent solution to drainage issues.
According to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Stephen Rochette, the project in Ventnor was completed Wednesday, Sept. 6, and the inflow pipe on Suffolk Avenue is being dismantled and moved to Longport. The contractor will continue working on dune crossovers.
“We are happy to have the pumping finished and moving into the next phase of crossovers, fencing and dune grass,” Ventnor Public Works Commissioner Lance Landgraf said Friday afternoon. “With the constant news surrounding the storms, we are glad to have the added protection.”
Longport engineer Richard Carter said a bulldozer would drag the dredge pipe from its current location at Suffolk Avenue to an area between 29th and Pelham avenues, where it will be located in a fenced-in area and plugged until the dredge is ready to start pumping sand in a few weeks.
Rochette said the dredge BE Lindholm will continue to pump sand in Margate for the next 10 days.
The project will likely stop at Rumson Avenue, and once the pipe is relocated to Longport, Weeks Marine will pump a pad area there and work north through Longport and the southern part of Margate until it meets up with the finished dune in Margate.
Although Hurricane Irma, which was headed to Florida on Friday, was not expected to cause many problems in New Jersey, rough seas could delay the project.
“My estimate is that sand will not be in Longport until the first week of October and, most probably, later due to weather,” Carter said. “Once the operation in Margate is completed, the pipe will be flipped and work started toward 11th Avenue.”
The Margate Board of Commissioners met in executive session at the end of its meeting Thursday, Sept. 7, to discuss a proposal by the state Department of Environmental Protection to solve the city’s drainage problem.
According to city attorney John Scott Abbott, a settlement proposal is on the table but is being “tweaked.”
“It will address the drainage, how to fix it and who’s going to pay for it,” he said. “It’s not resolved yet, but we’re getting there. They realize this is an ongoing issue created by the project.”
For the past 75 years, Margate has resolved drainage problems fairly easily by digging trenches that allow standing water to flow to the ocean, but that is no longer possible with the “dune wall,” he said.
The settlement will involve installation of a pipe system.
"Other towns have had them for years," he said.
Meanwhile, the city has continued to experience ponding behind the dune in areas where the dune project is active. The beach block of Nassau Avenue flooded following rain Wednesday, Sept. 6.
Rochette said a temporary outfall has yet to be installed at that location because the beachfill project is active.
Margate received 2.05 inches of rain Sept. 2 and 2.33 inches Wednesday, Sept. 6, Rochette said.
“Our team plans to install a temporary outfall at Nassau’s low point next week after Weeks Marine advances south of this location,” Rochette wrote in an email. “In addition, we dug a temporary trench to connect this area to the temporary outfall pipe at Lancaster Avenue.”
In a Facebook post Thursday, Essex Avenue resident Patti Deroo said storm water collected around the sump pipe installed behind the dune at Douglas Avenue and that the water was not draining.
Rochette said at this time there are no “dedicated pumps” for any of the sump areas.
“Currently, our subcontractor moves pumps to the different sump areas after a rain event. Dedicated automated pumps for every sump point north of Iroquois Avenue are being added,” he said.
Rochette confirmed the Army Corps is working with the DEP's Bureau of Coastal Engineering and the city on a long-term stormwater management solution.
Margate Administrator Richard Deaney said discussions are being held daily.
“Considerable progress has been made and the concept drainage plans are being modified daily, but as yet a final agreement is not in place,” Deaney reported Thursday.
The two courts involved in ongoing litigation will hold status conferences this month, he said.
U.S. District Court Judge Renee Bumb will hold a status conference to ensure the parties are working together on a solution in good faith Sept. 15, and Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez has a conference set for Sept. 25, Deaney said.
Although the city did not win its bid for a temporary injunction to stop the project, the court “appears committed” to seeing drainage problems resolved, Deaney said.