Dredge document #2 for the November 1, 2023 meeting
Posted on Nov 1st, 2023
FAQ Charter Lake Dredge Project
October 30, 2023
The Kings Charter Community has been acknowledged several times by Richmond Magazine's "Best Of" as one of the premier communities in the Richmond area. Kings Charter amenities, including the common areas, the lakes, the pools, tennis courts, club house and playgrounds, provide Kings Charter residents with an enhanced quality of life. It is the responsibility of the Kings Charter HOA to maintain these amenities both to enhance resident’s lifestyle and protect property values.
The Kings Charter Owners Association (KCOA) maintains two lakes, Ivy Banks Lake and Charter Lake. Since the community was first developed, periodic maintenance has been required at the dam sites, Charter Lake’s overflow has been rebuilt, and, to improve lake health, aeration was added to Charter Lake. Dredging has been undertaken in both Ivy Banks Lake and the middle section of Charter Lake. After almost 30 years, the upper section of Charter Lake has filled with sediment hampering its ability to retain storm water and causing a nuisance due to insects and odor. This portion of the lake now requires dredging.
The objective of the following FAQ is to provide additional information about Charter Lake’s dredging project.
--Why do we need to dredge Charter Lake?
Answer: Since the Lake was created in 1993, the upper section of Charter Lake has filled with sediment. Over the years, sediment washed in from the North and West and has been trapped in the upper section of the lake. Many areas are completely filled above water; with water depths in other areas of the lake less than two feet. The aerating system in this section is inoperable due to the shallow water. The shallow water becomes stagnant leading to odor and mosquitoes.
--How long since the last time this area was dredged?
Answer: This section of Charter Lake has not been dredged since the lake was created in 1993, 30 years ago.
--Didn't we just dredge the lake?
Answer: The Ivy Banks Lake was dredged in 2014 to remove sediment that had filled the Lake. The middle section of Charter Lake was dredged in 2022. This work was conducted to remove excess sediment arising primarily due to erosion of the storm water collection ditches along Henderson Hall leading to the Lake. The dredge work was undertaken after Hanover County addressed the erosion issues. The upper section of Charter Lake has not been dredged since its creation in 1993.
Why weren’t the two sections dredged at the same time?
Answer: The middle section of the Kings Charter Lake was dredged using a technique for spoil dewatering that took advantage of a nearby property owner. This technique is not applicable for use in the upper section of Charter Lake.
--Can we do a partial dredge and come back later once we've saved more?
Answer: Yes, but it'll cost us quite a bit more. Mobilization is a fixed cost and makes up more than 20% of the total cost. We would incur these costs for each phase of dredging. Also, there is a chance that we'd need new permits, a new disposal site, etc.
--Can't we just let the lake fill in?
Answer: The KCOA has an obligation to maintain the common areas of the community. The filling of the upper lake has created a nuisance and harm to overall health of the Lake that will spread with time. Also, Hanover County may, at any time, determine that KCOA has not maintained a Common Area and require that the issue be addressed.
--How long do we think this dredging project will last before the next one is needed?
Answer: Charter Lake was created 30 years ago. During that period, sediment accumulated as runoff from the development of home sites in Kings Charter and other areas that fall within Charter Lake’s drainage basin. This is the first time this area of the Lake has been dredged. As most of this development has been completed, it is reasonable to expect lower sediment accumulation. The reserve study estimates a 30-year life cycle until dredging is again required.
--How will the dredging be done?
Answer: Dredging will be conducted using a floating mechanical dredging system. This includes platform barges to create a work platform for the excavator, a long reach excavator to dredge the material, hopper barges to load the dredge spoils, and a push boat to transport the system and hopper barges. Due to the launch area’s existing conditions, a crane will be used to mobilize the barges and equipment into the lake. Once mobilized, the dredging system will excavate the deposited material and load the material into the hopper barges. Full hoppers will be pushed to the unload point where another excavator will transfer dredge material into sludge lock dump trucks to be hauled to the spoil site. The empty hopper will then be pushed back and filled again so that the process can be repeated until all the proposed material has been removed.
--Where will all the dirt go?
Answer: The spoils will be transported to an approved disposal site. The permit approvals were based on a site that is currently open. Other possibilities are to be considered as sites do fill up or a closer site may become available.
--What is a Dredge study?
Answer: In the dredge study, the lake depth is measured to estimate the quantity of sediment to be removed and produce accurate maps of the dredge area. Also, spoil samples are taken and analyzed to determine levels of metals or organic compounds in the lake sediment. The results of the dredge study are used to produce an estimate of dredge cost and are required for permitting and appropriate, safe disposal of the spoils.
--Will any animals in the lake be harmed?
Answer: The Dredge project will employ a mechanical dredging system. The lake water does not need to be lowered, reducing any impact on local wildlife.
-- What is the proposed timing for the Dredge project?
Answer: The Board is targeting early 2025 as the start date for the Charter Lake Dredge Project. Depending on weather, the project is expected to take from 2 to 3 months.
-- Why must Dredging be completed by March 2026?
Answer: KCOA obtained permits from many governmental authorities. The expiration date for these permits are April, 2026.
--How much will this cost?
Answer: Harbor Dredge and Dock has estimated a project cost of $436,440. This includes the cost for mobilization as well as cost for dredging and spoil disposal. The estimate is based on removal of 5000 cubic yards of sediment as estimated in the Dredge study and costs for a currently approved spoils site. The total project cost would nearly deplete the Reserve Fund. The KCOA Board is looking to a special assessment to cover the required dredging. Note, that as time goes by, there may be a change to the quote based on disposal tipping fees and the location of the disposal site.
--How much has been spent already on this project?
Answer: The KCOA Board approved an expenditure of $10,000 for Harbor Dredge and Dock to conduct a Dredge Study. This study provides an assessment of dredging required and supports permitting. Harbor Dredge and Dock also applied for appliable permits. The study can be found on the Kings Charter Web page.
--How did we go about soliciting bids?
Answer: Estimates were requested from three companies that conduct dredging of lakes and ponds. One did not respond to the request. One conducted an initial survey of Charter Lake and declined to provide an estimate. The third, Harbor Dredge and Dock provided an estimate for dredging. The Board subsequently decided to request Harbor Dredge to conduct the Dredge study to provide better cost estimate and support permitting.
--What is a reserve study?
Answer: The reserve study is a forward-looking analysis of projected expenditures to maintain KCOA common areas and facilities. It includes parking lots, sidewalks, fences and retaining walls, tennis courts, irrigation systems, signs, playgrounds, lakes, dam and spillway, buildings, swimming pools and fitness center. For all these items and their components, a life cycle and cost of replacement were estimated. The study was conducted in accordance with the Community Associations Institute National Reserve Study Standards. Estimates of useful life are based on the auditor’s general professional knowledge of construction and knowledge of the typical replacement experience of many communities with the same component types.
--Where is the money that was identified in the reserve study for dredging?
Answer: The reserve study identified the need to dredge the Kings Charter Lake, however, the total volume of spoils and cost was underestimated. Of the approximately $109,000 dredging cost estimated in the reserve study, most of this was used in the first phase of dredging in 2022. Charter Lake’s Dredge Project addresses removal of the remaining spoils volume. The project cost is based on the Dredge study.
--Can we use some part of the reserves to put towards the cost of the dredging, as opposed to emptying that entire account?
Answer: Frankly, we do not have any more Reserves set aside for the dredging of Charter Lake. It has been spent over the last 2 dredge projects. The Board and Community has been following the recommended Reserve Payments in accordance with the Reserve Study but the recommendation did not account for the huge increase in costs in our economy. For example, in 2019, the minimum wage was $7.25/hr. In 2023, the minimum wage is $12.00/hr. but most companies are paying above $15.00/hr.
--Are there other funding sources that can help us?
Answer: Outside funding sources for the Kings Charter Lake Dredge Project, such as grants, or cost sharing have not been identified. Different programs at the State and County level were investigated. To meet State requirements, counties have funding available for projects that meet the Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay nutrient reduction obligations. Hanover Department of Public Works considered the Kings Charter dredging project and, as compared to other projects, funding was highly unlikely. The Lake drains a relatively small area (low impact) and does not include highly effective features for additional nutrient load reduction (poor cost effectiveness). The Dredge project was discussed with staffers at Hanover and Caroline County Water Conservation District. The Conservation District does not have funds for dredging or remediation of a lake. We will continue to look for possible grant of cost sharing programs.
--How can residents keep up to date on the dredging project?
Answer: Three community information meetings are scheduled for Nov 1st, Nov 15th and Dec 7th to discuss the Kings Charter Lake Dredge Project. Residents have been informed of these meetings through email, letters and on the KCOA Facebook page. The Dredge study, KCOA Board meetings minutes, FAQs and material used at the Community meetings are available on the KCOA website and are to be regularly updated.