Street Flooding Issues Finally Resolved, Allowing Town Staff to Sharpen Focus on Other Recovery Tasks
With a few exceptions where a few inches of water remain over small street segments, all street flooding issues in the Town have been resolved. The Town is currently only operating a few pumps, most notably along Reed Drive between East Seaview Drive and Mangrove Drive (no ocean discharge) and at the Cape Emerald pond (due solely to the failure of an important Town drainage pipe that discharges to Bogue Sound).
Town staff's top priorities since Hurricane Florence ended 11 days ago have been the preservation of the potable water supply (in support of Bogue Banks Water Corporation), initial clearing of Town streets of tree debris, the preservation of law and order in the immediate aftermath, the restoration of power (in support of Carteret Craven Electric Cooperative), and the removal of flood waters to make all properties accessible and to enable a quick and effective response by emergency personnel when and where needed. With all of these top priorities finally resolved, Town staff are now primarily focused on debris collection and repairs to Town infrastructure so we can all get back to normal and enjoy all the great things that Emerald Isle has to offer to our residents, property owners, and visitors!
Debris Collection Efforts Continue, and a New Option for Your Personal Contractor
The Town's debris contractor continues to operate with a total of 11 collection crews spread out all over Emerald Isle, and progress continues. The Town expects debris collection to continue for the next several weeks, and our goal is to collect all debris no later than the end of October.
As reported in previous updates, Emerald Isle residents who do not want to wait for the Town's contractor to collect debris from the street edge may transport their own debris to a newly established temporary disposal site at Western Park off Old NC 58 in Cedar Point. Additionally, Carteret County has now established a procedure for your personal contractor to deliver your personal debris to the County's temporary disposal site on NC 58 near Peletier Loop Road, however, the property owner must complete the form in the following link and have the contractor present the form when disposing of debris - https://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/Data/Sites/1/media/pdfs/vegetative-storm-debris-self-haul-form.pdf . Please note that there is no disposal fee at the County's temporary disposal site, so your personal contractor should not be charging you a fee for disposal.
For street edge collection by the Town's contractor, please help us complete the collection of debris in the most efficient and safe manner by adhering to the following instructions:
- please create SEPARATE piles at the street edge,
- please create one pile for vegetative debris (trees and limbs), one pile for construction and demolition debris (shingles, siding, plywood, studs, etc.), and one pile for discarded furnishings (carpet, furniture, large personal items),
- tree and limb debris segments should be no longer than 12 feet,
- please place discarded appliances in a separate location at the street edge,
- please avoid placing piles directly under power lines and other overhead utility lines, as this may present a safety hazard to collection crews and may result in a slower collection process.
- please note that it is illegal to burn debris within the Town.
Please be mindful of your neighbors, and place your debris on the street right-of-way in front of your own property, and not on your neighbor's property. Also, please do not transport your debris to another neighborhood simply because you are impatient, and consider how you would feel if others brought their debris to your neighborhood. Additionally, DO NOT take debris to Town facilities, as these facilities are being used and/or will soon be used by others in our community for their intended purpose.
State Issues Precautionary Water Quality Advisory for Coastal Waters
The NC Recreational Water Quality Program has issued a precautionary water quality advisory for all coastal waters south of Dare County, including the Atlantic Ocean and Bogue Sound near Emerald Isle. A copy of the precautionary advisory is at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/rwq-press-releases .
Due to impacts from Hurricane Florence, the State has not yet collected samples of the water in the Atlantic Ocean and Bogue Sound near Emerald Isle, and will likely not collect any samples until sometime next week. In the meantime, the State urges everyone to be mindful that high levels of bacteria may be present in coastal waters, and urges caution. With the significant inland flood waters discharging to the ocean and sound, there is a increased chance of contamination and an increased chance of adverse health impacts along the entire North Carolina coast. This advisory is not specific to Emerald Isle, but rather the entire North Carolina coast south of Dare County, which was largely unaffected by Florence.
For more information, and to seek answers to questions about the potential risks, please contact the NC Recreational Water Quality Program at 252-726-7021 or visit their website at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recreational-water-quality .
Town Working to Line Up Aerial Mosquito Spraying, Targeting Early Next Week for Spraying
It does not appear that the State will be assisting with aerial mosquito spraying, so Town staff are currently working to secure multiple price quotes for aerial spraying within Emerald Isle (and potentially in partnership with other Bogue Banks towns). Additional analysis is required (and ongoing), however, it is likely that aerial spraying could occur overnight on Monday or Tuesday next week. More details will be provided once they become available.
Planned Beach Nourishment Project To Be Considered In October
New, post-Florence beach profile survey work has been completed, and data will be analyzed by coastal engineers in the next two weeks. After the volume of sand lost as a result of Hurricane Florence is determined, the Town will submit a claim for FEMA assistance to replace the lost sand.
The Town and County had been actively planning a significant beach nourishment project for eastern Emerald Isle that was scheduled for construction this coming winter. Ironically, the bid solicitation for this work was scheduled to be released shortly after Hurricane Florence impacted Emerald Isle. Because of the significant beach erosion caused by Hurricane Florence, the bid solicitation has been delayed until the actual Florence losses are determined. The Town will need to consider various issues, including the actual volume lost, the likely expansion of the project area in Emerald Isle, permit issues, timing issues, dredge availability, the typical April 30 permit deadline to complete these projects, and FEMA input in finalizing the construction scope and schedule. A decision on the revised scope and schedule of the beach nourishment project will be made in late October.
The Town will be working hard to secure a beach nourishment contractor to complete a meaningful beach nourishment project in Emerald Isle this winter, however, depending on the resolution of these issues, it may be necessary to delay nourishment until winter 2019-2020. The Town does NOT want to delay the project, and will be working hard to construct a project this coming winter.
Inventory of Open Beach Accesses
A list of beach accesses that remain open for public use after Hurricane Florence is located at https://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/public-ocean-accesses-open-post-hurricane-florence . All other accesses not included on this list sustained damage that prevents safe use by the public, and Town staff will be working diligently to complete and/or contract for the necessary repairs in the coming weeks and months. Thank you for your patience and understanding while we work to make these accesses better than they were before!
Beach Open for Beach Driving This Weekend
Beach driving season normally begins on September 15 each year, however, Hurricane Florence delayed the start of the season this year. With Town staff expecting to complete beach cleanup activities later this week, the Town will open the beach for driving this Saturday morning. Please note that beach driving will be permitted from 7 am - 7 pm only, at least initially.
Beach driving permits are on sale at the Town Administration Building during normal business hours. Beach driving information and an online permit application is also available at https://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/beach-driving .
Use the Emerald Isle Public Boating Access Area at Your Own Risk
Town staff and NC Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) staff have not yet assessed any underwater debris at the boat ramp facility and in the entrance channel, so boaters are advised to exercise caution when using this facility. Town and WRC staff hope to have a damaged pier section removed from the entrance channel in the next couple of days, and plan to complete a more formal assessment before this weekend.
Town Working to Restore NC 58 and Coast Guard Road Bike Paths to Normal Condition
Due to Town staff's focus on other more pressing recovery efforts up until now, there are still several areas along the Town's bicycle path network that are cluttered with debris. There is also a small segment of the bicycle path along Coast Guard Road near Sea Dunes Drive that was damaged by a critical water line break during the storm, and it will take some time to have new asphalt placed in this area.
The Town's debris contractor and Town staff will be working in the coming days to remove debris from the path and return the path to normal condition (with the exception of the damaged segment near Sea Dunes Drive). Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to return the bicycle path to normal condition.
FEMA Opens Disaster Recovery Center in Morehead City
FEMA has opened a local Disaster Recovery Center at the Carteret County Health Department, and it is open daily from 9 am - 7 pm. FEMA staff are available to assist individuals and small businesses with the recovery process. For more information, please call the Carteret County Health Department at 252-728-8550 or visit https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4294-4297/updates/fact-sheet-what-femas-individual-assistance-program to learn more about this program.
Board of Commissioners Approves Waiver of Permit Fees, CAMA Permit Fees Also Waived for Water-Dependent Structures
In an effort to reduce the financial burden on our property owners, the Board of Commissioners has waived all Town permit fees for repairs necessary due to damage from Hurricane Florence. This permit fee waiver will remain in effect until December 1. Building permits are still required for all repair work, however, no permit fees will be charged. Permit fees will continue to be collected for work not attributed to Hurricane Florence.
Additionally, the NC Division of Coastal Management has also waived all CAMA permit fees for docks, piers, and other water-dependent structures, and has established a streamlined permit process for structures that are replaced with an identical structure. CAMA permits are still required, however, repair of structures damaged less than 50% may qualify for an exemption.
Soundside Pier Debris
Many private soundside piers were damaged during Hurricane Florence, and there is a significant volume of pier debris along the Bogue Sound and Archers Creek shorelines. Please note that it is the responsibility of the waterfront property owner to remove all debris from the shoreline on your property. The Town's contractor will collect the pier debris, free of charge, from the street right-of-way adjacent to your property. It is the property owner's responsibility to move this debris from the shoreline to the street right-of-way.
Be Careful When Selecting Repair Contractors
Unfortunately, there are always some dishonest individuals preying on disaster victims after an event like Hurricane Florence. Please be careful when selecting repair contractors!
Emerald Isle residents and property owners are advised to perform adequate background and reference checks to insure you are dealing with a reputable company or repairman. It is always helpful to secure multiple price quotes and compare contractors.
Avoid Contact With Standing Water
Numerous homes in Emerald Isle continue to have standing water in residential yards, many of which include on-site wastewater systems. Residents are advised to avoid contact with standing water if at all possible, and if contact can not be avoided, wash affected body parts and clothing soon after exposure.
Standing waters may contain potentially dangerous materials, such as sewage and chemicals. Exposure to these waters may also cause infections or result in injuries. Buildings or facilities that have been damaged by or exposed to flood waters may also pose health risks from mold, chemicals, electrical hazards, and displaced animals. Please visit the Centers for Disease Prevention (CDC) website for cautionary steps to take under these conditions - https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/extreme-weather/floods.html .
Emerald Isle Baptist Church Coordinating Local Relief Efforts
Emerald Isle Baptist Church is coordinating local relief efforts in Emerald Isle, and we are grateful for their assistance. The Church is serving as an assistance, referral, and information center for those in need in our community and for those who wish to contribute to others. Anyone in the Emerald Isle community in need of special recovery assistance, and those seeking information on available contractors for clean-up and repairs may contact the Church for assistance and information.
The Church will also serve as a collection point for supplies needed in Emerald Isle, Morehead City, and DownEast Carteret County. Items requested include cleaning products, diapers, baby formula, and paper products. (At this time, please do not donate clothing.) The Church will also accept cash, check, and gift card donations for those in need. Please call 252-354-8795 or 252-424-2349 for assistance or information.
Emerald Isle Beach Music Festival Cancelled
For many reasons associated with Hurricane Florence, the Town has cancelled the 3rd annual re-boot of the iconic Emerald Isle Beach Music Festival (originally scheduled for September 29). This great annual event will be back in 2019, so mark your calendars for September 28, 2019!
Town Services, Other Information
The popular Coffee With A Cop session is still on, and will be held on Thursday at 9 am at The Trading Post in downtown Emerald Isle. Come on down and meet EI's finest!
The normal trash collection schedule is now in effect.
The Town Administration Building is open during normal business hours (8 am - 5 pm).
The Community Center is open during normal business hours. The AfterSchool Program will not operate this week. Please call the Community Center at 252-354-6350 for information on special classes.
Emerald Isle Woods Park received extensive damage from Hurricane Florence, and will be closed indefinitely.
McLean-Spell Park also received damage, and should be used at your own risk until tree debris can be removed.
The Emerald Isle Fire Department's Open House, scheduled for October 6, has been cancelled.
The Neighborhood Watch Program's Golf With a Cop event, scheduled for October 20, has been cancelled.
Carteret County Schools are closed all week from September 24 - 28.
The Town works hard to keep our residents, property owners, and visitors well-informed, and offers several platforms.
To receive the most current information from the Town of Emerald Isle, please:
- visit the Town's website at https://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/ ,
- check the Town's Facebook page at Town of Emerald Isle, NC,
- follow the Town's Twitter feed: @townemeraldisle,
- sign up for the Town's email newsletter at https://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/email-text-notifications ,
- sign up for text message alerts at https://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/email-text-notifications , and/or
- download the Emerald Isle APP at Google Play and The APP Store (search for "emerald isle nc") and enable "push" notifications.