Some six years after planning first started, the initial phase of canal dredging is finally finished in Southern Shores.
Dredging of 2.5 miles was wrapped up a little after noon on Friday.
Tom Bennett, the project manager, said in a town statement that about 18,000 cubic yards of material were pumped out and 40 million gallons of water were treated successfully before being returned to the canal system.
“This is the largest project ever undertaken by our town,” Bennett said. “It involved the construction of two large settlement basins with a combined capacity of 5 million gallons of water.”
Delays early in the project revolved around negotiations to find land for settlement basins to treat water from the canals.
After the town cleared that hurdle, dredging got under way. But the project was brought to a halt early in 2010 because the company hired to do the work was unable to extract fine particles from the water before putting it back into the canals.
Bennett called the project “very complex, including the permit process, the required dredging methodology, and the stringent water quality limits required for discharge after the separation of solids.”
All told, the first phase of the canal dredging was budgeted at about $2.2 million, but Town Manager Peter Rascoe said Monday he expected that it would come in at $30,000 under that.
Byrd Brothers Emergency Services of Wilson had taken responsibility over the dredging operations. Byrd sub-contracted with ADI Marine of Minot, N.D., to do the dredging, and ADI Marine contracted with WaterSolve of Grand Rapids, Mich., to perform the water-spoil separation process.
The town will now pursue new permits for the rest of the 7.5-mile canal system and consider funding options, Rascoe said. He said it is not known yet if the rest of the system would be done all at once or in phases.