- Published on Saturday, 19 May 2012 01:06
- Written by Super User
The Town of Kure Beach recently received a grant from the State of North Carolina in the amount of $50,000 requiring an equal match from the Town to fund removal of the old Dow Chemical ocean-intake. The beachfront area in the 400 Block of N. Fort Fisher Blvd is riddled with old jagged metal creating a hazard for the public.
By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
KURE BEACH - There's a rusty sharp jagged hazard just under the waves in one area of the oceanfront at Kure Beach. The old Dow Plant in Kure Beach is hanging around long after it's construction in 1933 and closing in 1945. The now rusted and deteriorating metal walls once served as a small canal to bring seawater into the Dow Chemical Plant. The canal ran from the ocean in the 400 block of Fort Fisher Blvd North to a pump station that moved water through a long canal to the riverside of the Island where a processing plant would extract bromine to make an anti-knock additive for gasoline and other fuels.
Those old metal retaining walls now pose a safety risk to swimmers. Signs are located on the beach to alert swimmers to underwater hazards, but some swimmers have been injured. Depending on the tide, at times the remnants are barely visible.
In May of 2011, Kure Beach Mayor Dean Lambeth brought the issue to the attention of the Council and the Town began pursuing grant opportunities with the State of North Carolina to help fund removal of the walls.
Lambeth expressed concerns that tourists and locals unable to see the hazard just under the surface of the waves could be seriously injured.
On April 13, the Town received a letter from the Office of Governor Bev Perdue notifying the Town, "That $50,000 in financial assistance for a project in your town has been approved by the State of North Carolina."
Gov. Perdue wrote, "I congratulate the Town of Kure Beach on its sponsorship of the Dow Chemical beach intake removal project. The project will remove rusty and jagged remnants of an abandoned intake structure located on the beach strand that poses a safety risk to beach goers. You efforts to protect the safety of beach goers in your town are to be commended."
The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources will contact the Town concerning administrative requirements for the use of the funds.
On Tuesday May 15, Mayor Lambeth said, "It's a 50% matching grant" and the Town would either have to match it with $50,000 or seeking additional sources of revenue.
Lambeth said, "We are going to speak with our state representatives to see if there's additional available funding."
In 2010 an oceanfront property owner planning to develop property was forced to excavate his land to remove large concrete remnants of the old plant that once spanned the entire width of Pleasure Island in Kure Beach on some 90 acres of land.
The site was home to a canal that ran from the ocean to a pump station that moved water through a long canal to the riverside of the Island where a processing plant would extract bromine to make an anti-knock additive for gasoline and other fuels.
Some of the remnants of that main processing facility are still present but located within an area called the buffer zone owned by the U.S. Army; it's off limits to the public. Production at the plant stopped in 1946. A plant for the extraction of magnesium and bromine opened in Texas.
At peak production the plant could produce 15,000 pounds of bromine in one day. It took 2,000 gallons of sea water to get one pound of bromine.