- Published on Thursday, 10 May 2012 23:34
- Written by Super User
The U.S. Army has notified the Town of Carolina Beach they are in violation of their lease on land in the Sunny Point Buffer Zone used for the sewer treatment plant. They are requiring a plan to remedy the issues in June and compliance by the end of this year.
By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina Beach was notified in April they are in violation of their 1972 lease agreement with the U.S. Army for land off of Dow Road.
The property currently houses the Town's Operations Department including public works, public utilities, storm water department and the Town's garage.
Additionally, it's home to a greenhouse and various office and storage areas. The Army is demanding the Town comply by the end of 2012.
The "buffer zone" is land owned by the U.S. Army for the Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point across the Cape Fear River in Brunswick County. The port deals in ammunition and the buffer zone serves as a "blast zone" in the event of an incident.
The zone covers the largest area of land west of Dow Road in Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Fort Fisher.
On November 7, 2011, Sunny Point officials inspected the Operation's yard and other areas of the buffer zone used by the Town.
A letter date January 19, 2012 was sent to Carolina Beach Town Manager Tim Owens providing a copy of the inspection report.
The Town sent a letter back outlining improvements noted in the Army's inspection report.
On April 13, Cindy B. Turner, Savannah District, Deputy Chief, Real Estate Divison for the Army Corp of Engineers wrote to the Town, "Pursuant to Condition No. 6 of the subject lease, compliance inspections of the leased premises were conducted on November 7, 2011 with a follow-up inspection on March 22, 2012, by my staff and Mr. Michael Fuller of Military Ocean Terminal, Sunny Point. Both inspections identified deficiencies regarding the use of the leased premises. During the follow-up inspection the recent construction of a water retention pond to collect contaminated water runoff adjacent to the dumpsters was noted. It is evident that the lease site is being utilized for operations that do not comply with the terms and conditions of our lease."
She explained, "A letter dated January 19, 2012, was sent to Mr. Timothy Owens, Town Manager, transmitting a copy of the inspection report listing the deficiencies. A letter of reply dated February 2, 2012, was received from Mr. Brian Stanberry, Public Works Director for Carolina Beach that addressed deficiencies listed on the inspection report."
Turner explained, "Condition No. 26 in Supplement No. 1 dated August 11, 1972, states, "The area will be used for construction and operation of a sewage treatment facility and necessary appurtenances and the construction and maintenance of a 40' x 100' storage building and fenced outside storage area." A review of our files shows multiple requests by the Town of Carolina Beach and subsequent denials for permission to relocate the town's public works area, utilities equipment, parking area, supplies and materials to this lease site. The site was leased and made available specifically for the construction, operation and maintenance of a sewage disposal facility to assist in efforts being made by the State of North Carolina to abate the pollution of waters throughout the State. The Government's sole determination was that the requests were not in the best interest of the Government and adversely impacted this commands mission requirements."
Turner wrote, "It is my expectation that removal of all items not specifically authorized for the operation and maintenance of the sewage treatment facility be accomplished by December 31, 2012. Please furnish a corrective action plan to include dates that deficiencies will be corrected not later than June 30, 2012. The plan should include, dates that items will be removed, corrections to items that will remain upon the leased premises and any additional corrective actions and/or processes the town will implement to ensure no recurrence of the noted deficiencies."
She explained, "Items that require corrective action and/or removal include, but are not limited to; items stored for auction, multiple storage buildings, FEMA trailer, marine vessels, generators, undercarriage water station, maintenance shop and multiple dumpsters and retention pond. The Town of Carolina Beach is reminded that as the Lessee you have a responsibility, as appropriate, to independently perform periodic inspections, keep the entire lease site maintained, and make repairs as required."
On April 16, 2012, Joseph E. Calisto, Colonel, United States Army, Commanding, wrote to Mayor Ray Rothrock explaining, "In reference to the letter from USACE Real Estate Office dated April 13, 2012 regarding Lease... I must say that I am very disappointed at the misuse of the property leased to you in good faith by the U.S. Army. I am further concerned that once town leadership was made aware of the violations, nothing has been done to date to correct the situation."
Calisto explained, "It is my expectation that corrective action be taken on noted deficiencies and that all items not specifically authorized for the operation and maintenance of the sewage treatment facility be removed no later than December 31, 2012, otherwise, termination of the lease will be considered."
He explained, "I respectfully request that you provide my staff courtesy copies of all correspondence with the Savannah District Corps.of Engineers, Real Estate Division to ensure our team remains informed of all corrective actions regarding this matter."
On Monday May 7, Town Manager Tim Owens said he's requested a meeting with Sunny Point officials and will know more following that meeting in the coming weeks.
Town Public Works Director Brian Stanberry had previously replied to the Army Corp of Engineers regarding issues listed in the November inspection report.
Stanberry explained, "This correspondence is in response to the letter from Mr. Robert M. Jewel, which addresses the walk through on November 7, 2011 and the subsequent deficiencies noted throughout the property leased by the Town of Carolina Beach. I appreciated the understanding and helpful suggestions that you and your associates offered during the walk through process. We began taking actions on your requests immediately. Below is a list of the improvements to date, or a plan of action for those items that were somewhat more extensive."
Some of the items Stanberry indiated the Town has resolved or are working on include:
• Electrical Certification: All upgrades and improvements to the electrical system were accomplished by the Town's electrical contractor. A full inspection was performed.
• Placard on Square D Electrical Cabinet(blue):
It was determined that this cabinet was not required for daily operations. Therefore, the cabinet was entirely disposed of and the area cleaned.
• Solid Waste, Debris, Containers(corrosive) Timbers, Clean up Outside Buildings:
A thorough cleaning project occurred and anything not used in a reasonable amount of time was disposed of. This area is much cleaner and safer now.
• Panel Cover and Lock on External Power:
This problem was remedied during the electrical inspection and there is now a lock on the exterior panel.
• Herbicides/Pesticides removed from building site:
All these chemicals have a been removed and transplanted to safe Town property offsite.
• Centralize Cleaners /Separate Flammables:
This has been completed. The two types of products have been separated and MSDS sheets are posted in the proximity of these chemicals.
• Fenceline Needs to be Maintained:
A portion of the fence has been cleared and the remaining will be put on a routine schedule that should prevent overgrowth from compromising the fence.
• Auction Items Remove:
These have been officially declared "Surplus" by the Town Council. They will be auctioned through a sealed bid process in March.
• Remove Old Tires:
All tires have been hauled away and a plan put into place to ensure that no significant amount of tires ever accumulates on the Operations Yard.
• FEMA Trailer Removed:
The Town is currently seeking other property on which to store this trailer that is used during emergency situations.
• Parking Paystations/Solar Panels Removed:
All stations that were unusable have been disposed of. Solar panels that may serve a purpose in the future have been stacked in an orderly, safe fashion.
• Fuel Tank-Flammables Signage Needed:
We are in the process of having a sign placed on this tank, near the garage. This will be accomplished in the very near future.
• Marine Vessels stored -out of scope of lease:
We are hoping to have this included into the future new lease. These are North Carolina State Wildlife vessels that have been stored on site for quite some time.
• Containment of Flammable Materials/PD Grey Container:
All flammable chemicals have been contained. The faulty placard on the grey container had been removed, as it is only used for the storage of impounded bicycles.
• Tire Storage Inside Garage is Noted:
The storage of tires within the garage is still taking place as part of the daily operations of our fleet maintenance program. I was unclear if this was just a logistical issue.
• Flammable Container Needs Signage:
We are in the process of having signs placed on both this container, as well as the exterior fuel tank that was noted above.
• Oils, flammables Containment Needed Inside Shop:
The Town's head mechanic is currently in the process of getting items in a proper, more orderly manner. This includes the correct storage of all chemicals and materials within the facility.
• Undercarriage Water Station/Hydraulic Fluid Removed/Needs Restoration and Discontinued Use:
All fluids have been properly disposed of and a plan of action is in place to ensure that these chemicals do not accumulate in this area. The Town's Water Department is in the process of replacing the leaking valve that was releasing water in that area. The area has been entirely cleaned and is much more acceptable.
• Large Garbage Containers On Site at Water Treatment Plant:
This container is an integral part of the waste treatment plant. It gathers larger refuse that can't be processed through the plant. Waste Industries empties this container on a bi weekly basis and the area around it is kept totally clean.
• Fencing Needs Repair at WWTP:
The plan is to repair the fence along the WWTP as manpower and funds will allow. The Treatment Plant Operator is aware of the needed repairs and will make sure they are addressed.
• Solid Waste Removed:
This was addressed with the Town contractor that had placed the debris onsite. It has now been removed and is in a clean state.
Stanberry explained, "Hopefully, you have found the response provided to be satisfactory. We have truly made a strong effort to return and maintain the facilities in a more acceptable form. Additional improvements have been made such as excess dumpsters removed, bulkheads repaired, better stormwater containment and a thorough cleaning of the entire site."
The Town of Carolina Beach entered into the lease with the Department of the Army in August 1972. In the Town's 1975 Annual Report it stated, "In keeping with the go-forward policy of Carolina Beach, the Water and Sewer Department is looking forward to opening of the new water and sewer treatment plants, now under construction."
According to that report, a $4 million dollar water and sewer project called for a $1.1 million local bond issue with the balance to be paid by Federal and State grants.