A handful of state and local dignitaries joined federal officials and Oceanside civic leaders Monday in launching construction of an experimental sand bypass system designed to dredge the Oceanside Harbor of sand and return it to the city's eroding southern beaches.
In the initial stage of the Army Corps of Engineers project, $5.6 million will be spent in installing two jet pumps below the bottom of Oceanside Harbor. The pumps, which operate like vacuum cleaners, send sand to a central point where it is fed into a 14-inch pipeline that carries it to sand-starved beaches as far south as Wisconsin Street. The plastic pipeline was installed last year.
If the experimental system works, it could eliminate the costly annual dredging of Oceanside Harbor and prevent further beach erosion. The entire project is estimated to cost $8 million.
The federal government is funding the project because studies show Oceanside's beach erosion problems are the result of the military's construction of a jetty and the Del Mar Boat Basin off Camp Pendleton during World War II.