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DEP: No Contaminants Found in 'Reclaimed' Sand Deposited In Ortley Beach

Sand from Route 35 project, Barnegat Bay makes its way onto the oceanfront in Ortley Beach

Reclaimed sand deposited on the beach in Toms River's Ortley Beach section. (Supplied Photo)
Reclaimed sand deposited on the beach in Toms River's Ortley Beach section. (Supplied Photo)
Toms River Township has agreed to rake areas of reclaimed sand deposited on the oceanfront in Ortley Beach to ensure it is appropriate for beachgoers, but residents' concerns about contaminants have proven to be unfounded.

Ortley Beach residents, in recent weeks, have quietly voiced concerns to township officials over the use of so-called "reclaimed" sand being deposited on the oceanfront by township trucks and contractors in order to shore up the temporary dune against winter storms. Though extra sand is always a welcomed sight, the residents have questioned whether sand reclaimed from the bottom of Barnegat Bay, from public streets and even the Route 35 reconstruction project could be subject to contamination.

But tests show the sand is, indeed, clean despite the presence of aggregate material mixed in with the finer beach sand.

"It's all been tested," said Township Administrator Paul Shives.

Officials with the state Department of Environmental Protection confirmed the sand being laid down on township beaches has been tested and no contaminants were found.

"Our most recent survey of the beach and dunes in Ortley Beach was on Thursday," said Bob Considine, a DEP spokesman. "Our inspectors dug holes into the dunes and beach in various locations along the oceanfront and found the material to be mostly sand."

Township officials have informed the DEP that the sand was sourced from numerous locations, such as sand trucked in from a quarry, dredge material from Crowder Gulf – the contractor that worked on the post-Sandy cleanup of Barnegat Bay – and some material from the Route 35 project.

Recently, an Ortley Beach resident, who did not wish to be identified publicly, sent photos of what appeared to be chunks of blacktop mixed in with sand. A similar report of roadway materials was recently included in a newsletter sent by a private group of Ortley Beach residents.

Considine said the township has agreed to rake the areas in order to flush out the aggregate materials. The township is also hosting a beach cleanup project next month during which volunteers will remove solid materials from the sand.

The dredge material from Crowder Gulf and the reclaimed sand from the Route 35 project was tested and results were provided to DEP, Considine said, and in both cases no contaminants were found.

charlotte March 19, 2014 at 04:49 PM
Third party testing sounds like a better plan than NJ DEP or TR assurances that "all is good".
bayway mike March 19, 2014 at 05:47 PM
Can't wait until we're told that the rain and high tides will wash away any contamination.. (sic)
Cardinal March 19, 2014 at 05:54 PM
Christie has totally weakened the Department of Environmental Protection. His priority is business and the heck with the environment. Citizens should closely monitor and question the DEP at every step!
suz March 19, 2014 at 06:34 PM
Cardinal, can you give it a break already? Can you not comment on just one of these articles without the mention of Christie? My gosh, do you really need to blame him for everything? I am soooooo glad I don't work for or with you because I can bet you are one hell of a person with that one track mind of yours...
BN March 19, 2014 at 07:06 PM
Would you prefer to walk on the Fukushima contaminated sand in California?

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