Some Ortley Beach residents will be allowed to move back to their homes in early February under a plan announced Tuesday by Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher.
The township has prepared and submitted a letter to the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management requesting that the state of emergency declared for Hurricane Sandy be lifted and Ortley residents with all utilities in service at their properties be allowed to return home at 8 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 4.
"Through meetings with New Jersey American Water, Toms River Municipal Utilities Authority, New Jersey Natural Gas and JCP&L, Mayor Kelaher has been assured that there service will be restored for most properties in the west and middle sections of Ortley by Feb. 4," reads a statement released by the township. "Portions of the eastern section of Ortley Beach from Route 35 north to the ocean may not ready for full service, although the water company has stated that there is potable drinking water for all homes that are connected to NJAW."
Some utility repairs continue to be made, though most work is coming to completion. According to the township, most of the west and middle zones are ready for sewage flow. The system is operational even though work continues on rebuilding three major pumping stations.
Areas of Ortley that can safely accept gas service have been re-pressurized. Repair to certain isolated gas mains in Ortley and resetting the meters will be complete by Feb. 1, with the exception of some properties east of Route 35 North.
JCP&L is working with the township on its master plan to rebuild their infrastructure for portions of Ortley east of Route 35 North; however the utility has finished restoring power to properties in Ortley that can safely accept service.
Township officials said that residents should make sure they have had the proper inspections before their utility services are turned on and are advised to contact the providers with any reconnection issues.
Kelaher said that residents should check with the township website's Ortley section to ensure they find the correct information regarding returning home.
Other barrier island residents were allowed to return home on Jan. 4, but officials said Ortley is not ready for full-time residents until utility and road repairs are completed.