The Cape Henlopen School District Board of Education Jan. 24 unanimously approved storing sediment from an upcoming dredging project on school property.
A dredging project to remove sediment accumulated in Silver Lake is proposed to begin this summer. Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control officials say dredging is needed to improve the health of the lake. Last month, DNREC asked for school board permission to use a southeast corner of Rehoboth Elementary School to store sediment. Sediment would be pumped into Geotubes - synthetic cylinders measuring 100-feet long and 35-feet in diameter. The tubes would be placed in a fenced area on school property.
After questioning DNREC officials about contaminants in the sediment, school board members were satisfied that the project would not contaminate school property. Superintendent Robert Fulton said the district is drafting a contract with DNREC on how the property will look after the project is completed. At a previous meeting, DNREC officials said they could leave the property in better condition than when the project begins, referring to landscaping improvements.
DNREC will hold a public hearing for residents who live near the proposed project. Once the public hearings are complete, DNREC intends to begin the project after the school year ends. Sediment would be pumped into the Geotubes to dry. Water would drain out of the tubes and return to the lake, said Chuck Williams, project manager for the division of soil and water conservation, in a previous presentation.
It should take a year for the sediment to dry; trucks would cart the sediment away to be used for landfill or fertilizer, he said.
Henlopen Acres used Geotubes for a recent dredging project in the canal. The tubes it in an area near the canal and will be emptied after the material is dry.