Navy, USACE and Coast Guard told to provide work plan for Buxton beach cleanup

Published 8:20 am Sunday, April 28, 2024

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On April 17, 2024, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality sent letters to the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard informing them of their obligations to clean up the mess at Buxton Beach Access.

Responding to the National Park Service and the Dare County Board of Commissioners resolution demanding immediate action at the site, Sushma Masemore, assistant secretary, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, told the agencies to provide “the Department with a work plan containing a proposed schedule for the completion of the required corrective action …”

The letters to the three agencies differ slightly and are labeled “Notice of Regulatory Requirements for Contaminant Assessment and Cleanup.” Listed below is the following: Buxton Navy Facility (Former), Old Lighthouse Road, Buxton, Dare County, NC. The site ID is NC9799F4825.

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To the U.S Navy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the letter cites the Department of Defense and State Memorandum of Agreement dated June 6, 1991.

Both letters state “the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) assumed responsibility to investigate and remediate the releases related to the Navy’s operation at the site.”

The letters cite references to the North Carolina Administrative Code, specifically groundwater and surface water quality.

Regarding surface water quality, the letters cite “citizen inquiries over petroleum like substance in surface water and an oily sheen on top of surface water adjacent to the former Buxton Navy Facility Building 19.” The conditions may constitute violations of surface water quality standards found in Tidal Water Quality Standards for Class SC Waters.

The final paragraph of the letters says: “Please note: the remedial measures required to address soil, sediment, and groundwater contamination must be extended to the level necessary to ensure that surface waters along the beachfront and site in general are protected and surface water quality violations are prevented.”