Posted on August 28, 2023
A $300,000 state bond will help fund a dredging project in Fenwick Island.
On Monday, Councilman Bill Rymer presented members of the Fenwick Island Dredging Committee with an update on Delaware’s state bond bill. He noted that the town had received $300,000 to fund a long-awaited dredging project in the Little Assawoman Bay.
“In total, we’ve now raised about $1 million, which covers the entire construction cost of the project …,” he said. “We’ve been funding this two ways, allocating a certain amount of funds from realty transfer tax, and grant funding.”
Rymer told the committee this week that funding was just one aspect of the project. He said the town continues to work with Carl M. Freeman Companies on a potential placement site for the dredged material.
“We’ve got a land access agreement we’ve been negotiating,” he said.
Earlier this year, the town began working with Carl M. Freeman Companies to reevaluate a parcel of land off Route 54 as a potential placement site. From those discussions came a renewed interest in partnering with the town and using its dredged materials on the company’s property.
Since January, the town has been working with its solicitor’s office, and a specialized environmental attorney, to draft a legal agreement that could allow the partnership, and permitting, to move forward. Rymer, however, said the company has asked the town to complete additional sampling on diesel and gasoline range organics before that agreement can advance.
“In our negotiations with the land developer they requested we do 10 additional sediment samples …,” he explained. “Big picture, it came back consistent with the first round of testing.”
With testing now complete, Rymer told the committee this week the results have been forwarded to the developer for review. He said the two parties were also working through an agreement to test the dredged material once it is placed upland.
“The details of that still need to be agreed upon,” he said.
Rymer also told the committee this week the town had received preliminary responses to three permit applications filed with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
He said one response from the Army Corps of Engineers identified concerns about the impact the project would have on the upland placement site.
“That is an open item on the preliminary comments so far,” he said.
Rymer said the town also received a comment from DNREC Fish and Wildlife noting that the dredging project could take place at any time throughout the calendar year.
“But I doubt we want to be dredging in July,” he added.