A portion of an expected 45,000 cubic yards of sand destined for the Sound Side of the Asharoken strip has been placed in the parking lot at the Soundview Boat Ramp adjacent to National Grid‘s Northport Power Plant.
“To date, approximately 7500 cubic yards of sand [dredged] from an upland source is stockpiled in the boat ramp parking lot. Today, our contractor began moving sand excavated from plant discharge channel to the boat ramp parking area,” reads an Oct. 15 letter from the utility to Asharoken Mayor Gregory Letica.
The village’s beaches face an estimated loss of about 15,000 cubic yards per year, and according to a 2010 condition placed on an existing operating permit issued to the utility by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, it is required to replace the loss with a minimum of 45,000 cubic yards every three years.
This condition came about following a 1996 lawsuit filed by the village against what was then LILCO. Specifically, Asharoken sought “injunctive relief based upon allegations that the design and construction of the Northport Power Plant upset the littoral drift of sand in the area, thereby causing beach erosion,” according to LIPA’s 2009 Annual Report. The case was dismissed by a judge in 2002; the village subsequently appealed. On Dec. 22, 2008, the Appellate Division unanimously affirmed the judge’s dismissal.
However, despite this decision, the Army Corps made the permit conditional on the sand replenishment.
The last deposit of sand took place in the fall of 2010. At that time, Letica said, the first dozen properties north of the power plant were not given any sand. “I was able to encourage the Army Corps of Engineers and National Grid to ensure that these properties receive sand this year,” he said.
This portion of the sand replenishment project should be completed by January 1.
The village is also set to receive a $30 million, 600,000 cubic-yard sand and dune restoration to help prevent further erosion on Asharoken’s beaches and dunes, swept away during Hurricane Sandy as part of a post-emergency repair bill approved Congress in January and signed by President Barack Obama Feb. 1.
In addition to the residents of Asharoken, the roughly 2,000 residents of Eaton’s Neck can become stranded if Asharoken Avenue becomes impassable.