Posted on April 20, 2017
By Eric O?Connell, Zip06
With a growing number of slips at the Town Marina unusable due to mud getting deeper (and water, therefore, shallower), Clinton has applied for Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) grant that will allow for dredging and repairs to the boat launch that, if approved, will begin in 2018.
The Board of Selectmen announced the plan for apply for the grant at its March 22 board meeting. According to its March 9 meeting minutes, the Harbor Commission estimates the project will cost $700,000 for the dredging plus $225,000 for the ramp. The dredging project would be overseen by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Due to downflow from the Hammonasset River, debris that accumulates on the riverbottom of the marina must be cleared every 8 to 10 years. The last time the marina was dredged was in 2008. Harbor Management Commission Steven Hayes anticipates the dredging project could start around March 2018 and last for four to five weeks.
Hayes said the cost is expected to increase this time around due to the need to barge the dredged muck to an area in Long Island Sound off of New Haven; previously Clinton was able to deposit dredge spoils off of Old Saybrook, where it was possible to send multiple barge trips in a day. The Old Saybrook area is closed, and the added distance to New Haven means only one trip is possible per day.
Because of the buildup since the last time the marina was dredged, Hayes said about 15 percent of the marina is unusable.
“Boat slips are raised out of the water at low tide, which keeps them unusable,” Hayes said, noting that the dredging project will allow those slips to be rented out again and allow for more people to keep their boats at the marina.
The dredging process has several steps. First the town has to get contractors to conduct a preliminary survey of the area and estimate how many cubic yards of debris are being removed. To allow room for cranes and other equipment to function, all the docks have to be removed from the water as well. Next the dredged spoils are loaded on a barge and deposited at a site off of New Haven harbor. The last step is another survey to see how many cubic yards of debris were actually removed.
Hayes says Clinton has what’s known as “clean mud”—mud that doesn’t contain any hazardous chemicals like mercury or pollutants. This mud will be used to cap more-contaminated materials from elsewhere along the shoreline. Hayes says around 8,000 cubic yards will be removed from Clinton.
In addition to the dredging, the town is also going to repair damage to the town’s boat ramp. Hayes said while original plans were for a large ramp, the plan had to be scaled back because of budget constraints.
Hayes said the repairs will provide for a “safer and more efficient way to launch.”