The combination of a broken water main and brought an under-construction storm basin to capacity, flooding nearby streets, officials said.
Homes along Adams and Holly Village Lane flooded Tuesday as streets filled with water overflowing from the at-capacity basin, according to the mayor's office.
Mayor Tom Kelaher released a statement on the flooding, saying that more than 8 inches of rain fell on Toms River in less than 12 hours, putting a strain on drainage systems throughout the township.
Coolidge, Adams and Holly Village Lane closed as torrential downpours flooded the streets surrounding an ongoing construction project to expand the existing basin, to drain from 250 acres and better improve water quality of Barnegat Bay. The $1.9 million project is funded entirely by state grant.
The project began early summer, but this week saw the basin and nearby drainage systems stretch to capacity with the heavy rains that flooded streets and other low-lying areas of Toms River.
Homeowners along Holly Village Lane reported to Toms River Patch that Tuesday morning, after heavy rains had fallen since 11 p.m. Monday, their street was under water. Thursday, at least two homes in the area had fences draped with throw rugs, carpets and other items set out to dry out from the rain's damage.
The flooding had drained and all that remained were several large puddles in the area of Coolidge and Garfield by Thursday.
The Mayor's office reported multiple calls came in from the area of East Dover and Windsor Park during the storm.
"Based on some calls we have received in the Mayor’s office it is evident that there is some misinformation has been circulating about the area that is flooding, so we are sending this information out to correct that," reported the township.
Callers asked if the basin was operating properly, or whether it could be pumped out, in order to stem flooding in the surrounding streets, but the project was not actually adding to the flooding problems, according to the mayor's office"
"Work is ongoing in the Adams Avenue Drainage basin as a result of a State grant the Township received; however, the construction work on the basin has not caused any of the intermittent flooding in the area. The size of the basin has actually been increased substantially since the work began. The basin collects storm water from a drainage area of about 250 acres. The basin filled as designed and has not been negatively impacted by the construction."
The factor that lead to the street flooding was a water main break, which was reported overnight during the storm: "There appears to have been a water main break in that area overnight as well that helped to fill the downstream storm water system which decreased the amount of water that could drain from the basin thus backing up water into the streets."
The water main break was not the only incident affecting the basin during the storm. Someone drove a four wheel drive vehicle into the basin during the storm event causing some damage, officials said.
Township officials and the contractor checked outflowing pipes into the bay and found no blockage and said the pipes were draining at capacity: "Unfortunately tidal influences will impact the ability of the area to drain. The Township will continue to monitor the area as we have been; however, no further action can be taken at this time as the system is operating to capacity."
Township Engineer Rob Chankalian said the previously that the project will take an outdate basin that was constructed before current environmental standards and instead create one that better filters what drains into the barnegat Bay.
The renovation would allow the basin to filter out nitrogen and other pollutants from the water before dumping it into the bay, something it was never designed to do, Chankalian said.
“It was never designed for any water quality — the water just runs in and runs out. That basin probably predated the 20-year-old standards. It really didn’t do much of anything,” Chankalian said.