Secretary’s marina facelift moves closer to fruition

MD-secretary marina 2x-051315

The Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz
Secretary marina waits for its facelift. Town officials anticipate that by spring, 2016 the newly renovated slips will be full.

SECRETARY — Get these folks from the Boating Services division of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) talking about dredging and pier replacement and their eyes light up. Two DNR project administrators, Fred Bedell and Sandi Pepe joined consulting engineer Charles Emory on May 4 for a confab with Secretary Mayor Susan Dukes and Commissioner William Lauck about the town’s marina facelift. It is a project that has been in the works for a few years and is now on the verge of coming to fruition.

While it will never compete with the Hyatt or Cambridge marinas, Secretary is inching every closer to refurbishing its small marina. The marina project is moving through a long and complicated process to completion. The completion goal is set for the start of boating season next spring at the latest.

The DNR has project managers for boating issues for central, southern, and western Maryland regions. Mr. Bedell explained, “Even getting projects this far, after we give the grants to small towns and counties the question is what’s next.” The managers act as advisors to help move projects forward. They do preliminary work by defining the vision a town or county has for a project and then work with clients and an engineer to facilitate the project.  The engineers work closely with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to gain final approvals.

What happens to the sludge? The requirements for its disposal are stringent. Dorchester County approved use of its Beulah landfill for the dredged sludge contingent on approval by the MDE.
Mr. Emory requested a topographical (topo) study to see how the water flows at the site before a containment plan is recommended. He estimates that the expected 4,000 yards of sludge probably has the equivalent of 2,000 yards of water in it so the flow is important to determine. He explained that the landfill site is a field with a natural slope on one side.  “We might only have to put a super silt fence at the bottom to catch it,” he said.

Ms. Pepe said the DNR has used heavy tarps and straw bales to catch waste water as well.
Mr. Bedell explained, “We have to keep the solids on one side and let the water go through.”
He described a super silt fence as a low chain link fence placed in a line around the edge of a bank. The base is black plastic filter cloth to keep solids on one side as water passes through the cloth. “You dig it into the ground so nothing seeps under it. He (Mr. Emory) knows it will work, we all think it’s a good idea, and it’s been done in the past.” The MDE must approve the method.

The dredged sludge is spread on the landfill site to dry. After the water drains the dried material is tilled, mixed with gypsum, turned over and used on fields to increase crop production.

The discussion included coping with low winter tides, bridge restrictions, loading the dump trucks, routes to avoid damaging roadways, permits, and a myriad of other considerations.  The plan is to request bids in August and start dredging when the boating season is almost over and the weather gets cold.

According to Ms. Pepe, the project has funding from the Waterway Improvement Fund, dedicated to towns and counties for public boating access, from a 5 percent excise tax on Maryland boat registrations. She pointed out that her division’s funding levels are down significantly from around $20 million in 2008 to around $3-$4 million currently.

Town Clerk Yvonne Pritchett said word of the project has obviously spread because several boaters, eager for a slip, are now on a waiting list.

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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