The marina at Henlopen Acres is in need of dredging – again– and town commissioners unanimously agreed to hire consultant Tony Pratt to encourage the state to allow the town to pump the spoils in an upland area.
Spray disposal of the spoils is the recommended technique at the state and federal level, and the town is happy to assist in that method, said Mayor Joni Reich, during the commissioners’ quarterly meeting April 12. She said the contracted amount for Pratt is $1,500, and he is expected to do about 10 hours of work.
Pratt spent over three decades working with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources, retiring in 2018 after years as the state’s shoreline and waterway management administrator. More recently, Pratt has been hired as a consultant by the Association of Coastal Towns.
Town Manager Tom Roth said at low tide, the water level in the town’s marina is about 18 to 24 inches. He said about 4,000 cubic feet of sediment should be removed.
Roth said the marina was last dredged in 2012 and cost the town $200,000, and sediment filled back in less than two years later. For that project, the town placed the spoils on land, and then had to wait a year for the material to dry out before moving it, by truck, to a farm miles away.
None of the commissioners thought that method of dredging was in the best interest of the town.
Roth said the town has explored the idea of using state-owned marshland directly across the canal from the marina, but state officials have said that section of marsh doesn’t need the spoils. He said Pratt thinks there are areas of marshland up the canal that could use the spoils.
Reich said spray disposal is an environmentally sound way to replenish areas of the marsh, and the town wants to make sure all those options are exhausted.
At the end of the discussion, before the formal vote, Roth said another option would be to close the marina, but that went over like a lead balloon.
Fire hydrants would be costly
Henlopen Acres has no fire hydrants within its boundaries, and a water system assessment completed in July 2018 said the town should consider installing some. Currently, if there’s a fire in Henlopen Acres, a fire truck hooks up to a hydrant on Henlopen Avenue or drops a line into the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal.
During a July commissioner meeting, consultant Dan Sting, an engineer from KCI Technologies, said to install fire hydrants, which would require hooking into neighboring Rehoboth’s system, Henlopen Acres would have to install 6-inch pipe, because the town’s 4-inch pipe couldn’t handle the necessary pressure. At the time, he estimated it would take two to three hydrants to cover the entire town.
During the April 12 meeting, Roth said further analysis had been done, and the fire marshal would require 12 fire hydrants, at an estimated cost of $750,000. He said roughly 10,000 linear feet of pipe would be needed.
Roth said he thought the project would cost more than $750,000 because the estimate used town easements, but he didn’t think the whole project could be done that way. He said he thought it would require, in some part, putting pipe under the road, which would increase the cost.
Roth said the town is not mandated to install hydrants, but he said there would be a major benefit to insurance premiums for property owners if they were installed.
The town has accessible water, but it doesn’t meet insurance standards, Roth said.
In the end, Reich said she would like to set up an appointment with the fire marshal to continue the discussion.
Cost continues to rise for Tidewaters infrastructure project
An infrastructure project aimed at relieving flooding for a homeowner at the downhill intersection of Tidewaters and Fields End has nearly doubled from original estimates.
During the meeting April 12, Roth said the cost has now jumped to $150,000 because there were limited bidders on the project. He said he expected digging to begin any day.
During a meeting in January, commissioners approved $127,000 toward the project, which is supposed to install two catch basins and an underground drainage pipe to the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal behind the property at 85 Tidewaters. The town originally budgeted $84,500.