This serves as notification from the Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources of a request from Sulfco, LLC. for a Coastal Marshlands Protection Act (CMPA) Permit under Official Code of Georgia (O.C.G.A.) 12-5-280 et seq., to modify and maintain an existing industrial facility, and construct and maintain a deep-water berth located on the Savannah River, Chatham County, Georgia.
The Sulfco, LLC. project area consists of approximately 226.67 acres of upland and 58 acres of coastal marshlands. The site has historically been used for industrial purposes.
The proposed project includes an upland component and marshlands component. The marshlands component includes maintenance of existing bulk conveyor systems, dredging of coastal marshlands, and removal of a water-intake structure and a portion of an existing bank stabilization.
The upland component consists of approximately 19.7 acres. The applicant is proposing the creation of a deep-water berth, installation of a King Pile Bulkhead, and construction and maintenance of a confined dredge material containment area (DMCA).
An existing bulk conveyor system used for off-loading dry bulk goods from moored vessels is located along the parcel’s western property line. This consists of an approximately 6ft. x 71ft. (426sq.ft.) conveyor that extends from the upland connected to the main bulk conveyor system. The main bulk conveyor system consists of an 11.5ft. x 210ft. horizontal belt and an 20.5ft. x 125ft. elevated belt (4,980sq.ft.) and terminates at two (2) 20ft. x 30ft. (1,200sq.ft.) concrete breasting platforms with mooring hardware that includes fenders and bollards. A pile-supported steel catwalk, approximately 6ft. x 750ft. (4,500sq.ft.), extends from the concrete platform to two (2) 10 ft. x 12 ft. (480sq.ft.) concrete mooring platforms upstream and downstream of the conveyor. The existing bulk conveyor extends approximately 215ft. into the waterway from Mean Low Water (MLW) where the waterway is approximately 1,815 ft. wide (MLW to MLW). The proposed project includes maintenance of this structure within its current footprint.
Downstream of the bulk conveyor system is an existing water intake structure that impacts approximately 1,800sq.ft. of coastal marshlands. This structure will be removed in its entirety.
Existing rip-rap bank stabilization measures approximately 6,000ft. x 15ft. x 3ft. (10,000cy) and spans the entire shoreline landward of the bulk conveyor. Approximately 3,500ft. x 15ft. x 3ft. (5,833cy) of rip-rap will be removed to allow for construction of the proposed project.
Total impacts for the existing bulk conveyor systems and remaining bank stabilization total approximately 48,420sq.ft. (1.1acre).
In addition, the proposed project includes dredging approximately 2.7 million cubic yards of material from an approximately 58-acre area of coastal marshlands (+/- 50.25 acres of tidally influenced water bottoms, +/-5.36 acres of the intertidal zone, and +/-1.24 acres of vegetated coastal marshlands) to create a new shipping berth. Initial dredging to an average depth of -42ft. mean sea level with 2ft. of over-dredge will be accomplished via hydraulic cutterhead.
All dredge material will be piped to an on-site DMCA with 500,000 cubic yard capacity in phases based on available capacity within the DMCA. Annual maintenance dredging activities will be necessary to maintain the required depths and the applicant proposes future agitation or hydraulic maintenance dredging not to exceed 250,000cy annually.
As proposed, total existing and new impacts from the existing and proposed structures within CMPA jurisdiction will be 102,565sq.ft. or 2.3 acres. In addition, the proposed project includes approximately 58 acres of dredging of coastal marshlands.
The proposed deep-water berth facility project will commence with the construction of a 3,185 linear foot (lf.) King Pile Bulkhead driven at a depth of approximately -56ft. It will be located approximately 200ft. landward of the current CMPA jurisdiction line. Associated with King Pile Bulkhead will be an approximately 3,185ft. x 15ft. x 5ft. (8,847 cy) concrete facia beam supported by 320 24in. concrete piles (1,280sq.ft.) immediately seaward.
An additional 350ft. sheet pile bulkhead will be located at the eastern end of the King Pile Bulkhead. Approximately 3,174cy of riprap will be placed at the western terminus of the bulkhead to create an armored shoreline transition. Approximately 8,600cy (54,145sq.ft.) of armor stone will be placed along the northern, seaward toe of the bulkhead. In total, construction of the proposed facility will include 54,145sq.ft. of structure as the pilings and facia beam are within the footprint of the armor stone.
Upon completion of the 3,185ft. King Pile Bulkhead and shoreline transitions currently landward of CMPA jurisdiction, approximately 19.63 acres of upland, and 3,500lf. of existing bank stabilization currently located in CMPA jurisdiction, will be excavated and disposed of at an appropriate upland facility. The elevation at the face of the berth, or seaward side of the proposed bulkheads, will be -45.0 mean low water (MLW) in a 17-foot wide trough below the facia parallel to the new berth. Upon completion of the dredging, this area will become jurisdictional under the CMPA.
The upland component of the project consists of the construction of an on-site 19.7 acre confined dredged material containment area (DMCA) with 500,000cy capacity to be constructed in uplands on the southern end of the project area. Effluent from the DCMA will discharge into an existing National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and dried material will be removed from within the facility to accommodate additional dredge material.
The new berth will create approximately 3,185 linear feet of mooring frontage along the Savannah River at this location and will be constructed no closer than 800 ft. from the Savannah River Federal Navigation Channel. The Savannah River is no less than 1,909 ft. MLW-MLW within the project limits. The proposed structure will be approximately 346ft. from the extended property line to the east and 1,175 feet from the extended property line to the west.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate that the project is not contrary to the public interest and that no feasible alternative sites exist. Impacts to coastal marshlands must be minimal in size. In passing upon the application for permit, the Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee shall consider the public interest: (1) Whether or not unreasonably harmful obstruction to or alteration of the natural flow of navigational water within the affected area will arise as a result of the proposal; (2) Whether or not unreasonably harmful or increased erosion, shoaling of channels, or stagnant areas of water will be created; and (3) Whether or not the granting of a permit and the completion of the applicants proposal will unreasonably interfere with the conservation of fish, shrimp, oysters, crabs, clams, or other marine life, wildlife, or other resources, including but not limited to water and oxygen supply.
A detailed public notice with drawings has been distributed and is available by visiting the Department of Natural Resources website: CoastalGaDNR.org under “Marsh & Shore Permits.”
Please provide this office with substantive, site-specific comments as to why the proposed work should or should not proceed. Comments and questions concerning this proposed project should be submitted in writing by the close of business on November 30, 2020 to Deb Barreiro, Department of Natural Resources, One Conservation Way, Brunswick, Georgia 31520.