Buxton Beach access on February 14, 2024. CHNS photo.

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS) has added a new web page to its site that covers the past and present of Buxton Beach, and the approximately 400-yard stretch of shoreline that has remained closed to the public since September 2023 due to ongoing environmental concerns.

Buxton Beach access on November 3, 2023. CHNS photo.

The Buxton web page covers the deep-rooted military history of the roughly 50-acre site, beginning in 1956 when CHNS issued a special use permit for the construction and operation of Naval Facility (NAVFAC) Cape Hatteras, just north of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

The page also chronicles the past efforts of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to address petroleum contamination and other issues at the site beginning in 1998.

In 2004, over 4,000 tons of petroleum-contaminated soil (PCS) were excavated and removed from the site, but groundwater monitoring and bioremediation continued due to detections of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination that exceeded N.C. Department of Environmental Quality standards.

Perhaps most important to visitors, the page also has a history of the more recent reports of petroleum smells and exposed infrastructure over the past six months, following extensive beach erosion from Tropical Storm Idalia and Hurricane Lee in the late summer of 2023.

Per the web page:

What’s next?

  • The beach remains closed as a precautionary measure.
  • CHNS will continue to communicate observations and concerns about the existence of PCS and debris to the Corps and Coast Guard.
  • The Corps continues to evaluate the situation and if its authorities will allow for the removal of historic building infrastructure and associated PCS.
  • The Coast Guard is conducting a CERCLA investigation at the site to evaluate the presence of non-petroleum contaminants, which is underway and expected to conclude during the summer of 2024. The contract for the investigation is not related to the PCS observations in September 2023.

To view the new Buxton web page, click here

Aerial view of the Naval Facility on March 3. 1965. CHNS photo.
NAVFAC Cape Hatteras – undated, likely late 1969 or 1970. CHNS photo.
Photo of Naval Facility Cape Hatteras taken from Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

The post CHNS launches new web page on Buxton Beach’s history and current environmental issues appeared first on Island Free Press.

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Credit: Original content published here.

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