Stockton Sand Trucking at Odds with Research

Filed under Environment & Pollution, News ~ by Throsby on  25 Nov 2019

City of Newcastle announced that 5500 tonnes of sand will be trucked onto Stockton Beach before Christmas 2019.

Following a successful grant application, the NSW Government agreed to jointly fund a one-off $350,000 beach nourishment project, with the trial restoration of the section of Stockton Beach from the holiday park to Lexie’s Cafe.

The sand trucking is described as “a short term measure” and the first of a two-stage project. Additional sand will be deposited north of the accessway, adjacent to the Surf Club, in stage two during the New Year, subject to further approvals from the NSW Government.

The replacement sand will be sourced from a local commercial quarry and require hundreds of truck movements to Stockton Beach, with the presence of heavy machinery restricting access to parts of the beach during work.

Quarry Sand Unsuitable

However, a Worley Parsons report for City of Newcastle in 2012 referred particularly to:

…incompatibility of the terrestrial sand quarry products with the native sand on Stockton Beach.

Of the only suitable sample, some 2 to 3 times the requisite nourishment volume would be needed, and even that sand would be unstable.

The report found that quarry sources of sand are unsuitable to replenish Stockton Beach because they are “too fine and too well sorted.”

The nourishment would be unstable. Even the (only) coarser terrestrial sample was unsuitable, requiring some one to one and a half million cubic meters to nourish the requisite half a million cubic meters.

The report makes clear that estuary sands from port dredging are ideally suited due to grain size compatibility, as is sand from the beach itself, acquired by sand-scraping from unaffected areas of Stockton Beach.

Trucking is also the least attractive option with its obvious effects of disruption to local residents, noise, air quality from diesel particulates, roads usage, and beach access.

Nor is trucking cheap.

Based on (2012) pricing information by quarry suppliers, the initial nourishment “would be in the order of $20 – $34 million, and that about 50,000 tonnes are required for ongoing maintenance.”

A copy of the Worley Parsons report is available online here

A review of the erosion and some history is here.

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