Beach renourishment projects used to mean dredging offshore and dumping onshore, but cities are beginning to look to sand mined inland for these projects.
The city of Hollywood added 84,000 tons of new sand in a recent renourishment project. Sand for the project was dredged from a lake in Glades County, west of Lake Okeechobee.
The sand was cleaned, washed and filtered five times, piled 40 feet high to dry and then scooped up 24 tons at a time and loaded into trucks for the journey to the beach.
"I think most people, consumers, think that we just dig it out of a hole, throw it on a truck and it goes. It's not that simple," said Alan Miller, of E.R. Jahna Industries. "Our product is very clean, washed, white. What you get from the bottom of the ocean floor may not always be."
Sand mining does not disturb marine life or coral reefs, as dredging might. And, it gives coastal engineers more control over sand consistency. On the downside, there is more truck traffic hauling it in, and there is a higher price tag.
"The values it brings as far as the quality of the beach, the longevity of the beach, is enough to warrant the additional cost of the material of the project," said Eric Myers, of Broward County Natural Resources.
Broward County is planning to renourish more than five miles of the beaches of Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea and Pompano Beach. About $1 million worth of sand will be needed for the project.