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Mountains of Toms River's Garbage Pushed Into 'Debris Management Sites'

Sites at Shelter Cove, Seaside Heights parking lot, Ocean County Utility Authority lot in Ortley Beach

Toms River is pushing acres of garbage into "debris management sites" throughout the township, converting parks and parking lots into temporary dumping grounds in order to manage the clean-up of Hurricane Sandy.

Township Administrator Paul Shives said landfill costs have been approximately $1 million a week.

At its township council meeting Tuesday, Toms River paid a $2.5 million bill for landfill costs, which is just for three weeks of garbage, Shives said.

One of the more prominent sites collecting garbage from multiple towns is at the Seaside Heights parking lot off Route 37 and 35, where a large multiple-story high pile of debris continues to build.

The Seaside Heights parking lot is being used by Toms River to clear debris. The Ocean County Utility Authority lot in Ortley Beach, and Shelter Cove park on the mainland are also "debris management sites," said Toms River Department of Public Works Director Lou Amoruso.

He said dealing with the garbage is a "daunting task."

Surging floods of Hurricane Sandy destroyed homes, docks and more, and the debris has washed up or remains floating throughout the township waterways.

Then, residents who are cleaning up, tossing out furniture and carpeting, as well as the downed trees and other debris, are only compounding the amount of garbage Toms River has to process.

Bulldozers, trucks that carry cubic yards of debris, and other heavy equipment are trying to process all the garbage, much of which is on the barrier island in Toms River: Ortley, Chadwich, Normandy, Ocean and Silver Beaches among other neighborhoods where devastation is heavy.

As residents began last week spending hours on the island between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. to toss out destroyed items, Toms River continues to deal with the garbage.

"As residents are getting into their homes on the barrier island and throwing out furniture, carpeting, drywall and family possessions ruined by the salt water and mold, the garbage is piling up," according to a statement by the township.

Amoruso said the increased access to the barrier island means increased residents' garbage.

“We can’t get to all areas fast enough because we are also allowing access onto the barrier island. There are so many cars on the road that it is slowing down our progress of hauling out the garbage. The traffic alone is an issue, but we also have to deal with the fact that the area we’ve been allotted to store the garbage on the barrier island is already full," Amoruso said.

Sites such as the OCUA are filling quickly since opening for Toms River use on Friday.

“This site is a necessity for the efficient restoration of the barrier island.  The problem we are now facing is that the NJ Department of Transportation (DOT) used the Ortley property as a temporary debris site, themselves," Amoruso said. "As they cleaned up Route 35 to provide access, the DOT filled up our site with sandy debris and construction materials mixed in, and it has become too full for our use.”

It's not just the barrier island. On the mainland, which also saw tremendous damage, the evacuation was voluntary and residents continued to live in homes and immediately toss out damaged furniture and other items to the curb.

To help deal with the cost of collecting and processing garbage, Toms River has signed on to the county's offer of using its contract for debris collection.

The township has pared with the county, who is assuming most of the cost Toms River would have incurred, said Township Administrator Paul Shives. The township so far has passed an emergency bond ordinance for $35 million in Hurricane Sandy expenses.

"We've signed on to the county's contract, and that stopped the bleeding for us," Shives said. "We no longer have to front those costs."

Amoruso said trucks are removing more than 300 loads of debris from the barrier island every day.

Shives said FEMA is involved in processing and sorting the garbage.

"It can't just go from pick-up to landfill, it has to be processed, there's construction materials, et cetera," Shives said.

Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said processing it all is a public safety issues.

"The volume of garbage is enormous," said the police chief.

BN November 28, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Better keep a guard at each site...keep the pickers out.
glen the body kelly November 28, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Huga huga huggga
Ray C. November 28, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Out of curiosity, is there any announced plans to do more runs to pick up fallen trees? My neighborhood, like just around any in Toms River right now, has numerous houses with stacks of downed timber on the curb, waiting for pickup. In fact, our homeowner's association left a nice seven-feet tall stack in front of my neighbor's house. I'm not asking to complain, as I know everyone is working as hard as they can, but I am curious as to where the pickup of all this wood falls in priority to other post-Sandy cleanup efforts.
~Barb~ November 28, 2012 at 12:56 PM
In my neighborhood, a township truck came by and chipped any branches that were piled in the street. This was a week after the snowstorm hit. Problem is, that did not allow everyone enough time to get their yard cleaned up. We're fortunate enough to have a chainsaw, but other residents needed professional help for trees that were too big to manage, were tangled in wires, fell on cars, etc. and piles accumulated again. I'm in no rush for a pick up, I get it. Other people's homes were devastated and I count my blessings. I DO however have an issue with the time, resources, and manpower that were wasted on street sweeping. Yes, a street sweeper went down my road today. It's kind of ironic since there afore mentioned brush piles are till there in addition to leaf bags residents have begun to line the road with. Poor planning and not very smart.
1stcav November 28, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Downed trees..right, put that on your Xmas list...But April looks more like it ! They will be covered by snow and the snow plows will be hitting them before they CAN be removed....Remember the Nov. snow storm and all the bags of leaves were NOT collected and the snow covered them and the plows ripped them all open .So we picked up the same leaves TWO times that year !!!! There IS just way to much garbage after THIS super storm for the DPW to deal with !!!!!
tuna stick November 28, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Ray, I went to the office of the Toms River DPW on Church Rd, and they assured me that the trees, branches, etc will all be picked up by the town. Unfortunately, they could not give a schedule for my area (Silverton). But did say that they were contracting out that work. Let's hope that it's done before Christmas.
Robert Bressman November 28, 2012 at 01:31 PM
There is a truck coming around with a giant claw, patience.
Catherine Galioto (Editor) November 28, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Hello, here are some other tips the township put out recently regarding collection of all the various types of debris: http://tomsriver.patch.com/articles/debris-and-leaves-pick-up-schedule
Mike L November 28, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Hey ray, it will be done in time.....I live on a block that usually is the last foreverything even the mail. But yesterday "TWO MEN, yes TWO MEN and a double boxed truck with a crane attached came thru my block and boy KUDO's to them, every wood pile and branch pile was taken. From what I understand they are a disaster relief group that is in Toms River from out of state. After they left almost all house owners came out and cleaned up the street of leaves and twigs; now if the renters (not from the hurricane) would do the same we would be almost as good as before. Renters seem to have a different outlook to what they do to where they stay and how much they do. Again Thanks to all from out the area who are helping to get us back to some sort of normal. Maybe our local officials should stop putting a price on everything when they open there mouths and just do it. We know it's going to cost, I hope you look at one of the pictures where two men are cleaning the street with a covered truck and one is watching the other working. Ever see a pot hole being repaired, we are not utilizing the people the correct way.....too many bosses and not workers. Remember what I said before TWO MEN and a double truck cleaned up the block in my area in ONE day!!!!!!!!
shorefriend November 28, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Let the pickers in, there is great incentaive for scrap metal, and if someone is willing to hall and process and make a profit than scrap away, the landfills can only take so much, reduce and reuse
Debbie Bury November 28, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Lavellette is so ahead of Ortley as of today they can go in everyday to repair there homes some even have electric !!!!! I know we got hit harder , they got hit hard also. They also have done a hell of a job picking up everyone garbage .they say that they do not want to have there homeowners come back everyday to see there belonging on the side walk, because they had enough hardship already. We need to step up the plan. Please
jeff November 28, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Yes the "Claw" truck will be visiting you soon. They did my neighbor hood Monday, there was tons of brush and now it's gone.
John Benz November 28, 2012 at 08:22 PM
As a owner just leaving the disastar site in Ortley Beach with the mounds of garbage (in front of properties for weeks now) it's easy to see why it's still there. Dover Township garbage truck #68 consuming 20 minutes in front of my property to pick up just 1, yes 1 washer machine, 3 workers, with a red official pickup truck behind them with 3 workers sitting. Why 20 minutes? they were cutting EVERY cord off any appliance and saving them to the truck private cab! I wonder what for? Now I see the delay.
shorefriend November 28, 2012 at 08:31 PM
This really gets my mad, what the heck is going on in Ortley!! Lavallette is ready to move back and Ortley can't even get the trash picked up!!
Ajv November 28, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Those small minded idiots tore out my railroad ties. Didn't have the balls to knock on door. Don't give them tools they can't use. Yeah for the public works workers bunch of overpaid window lickers
ed crowley November 29, 2012 at 01:36 AM
I hope the trees are not going to landfill.
Senior Citizen November 29, 2012 at 03:10 AM
I live on a corner In Ortley .The First day we was allowed in we piled all our furniture and other garbage in the front of the house and had to stop no room left. We were hoping that this would be gone on our next visit no such luck.We noticed that other croner homes starting using the sides of there proprety.So we did to, in order to get into the garage we had to first clean out the driveway.We have two walls from other home flooring part of the broadwalk and docks tthan all kind of wood all sizes and still have not clean out the garage and and shed competely. Now they Mold and Mildrew company is coming to clean out the rest of the house they need a 30 yard dumpster.I hope they let them across the bridge this would be less for them to pick up.
John Benz November 29, 2012 at 01:09 PM
It wasn't gone because they are spending their time cutting wire for their pockets instead!
MIC November 29, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Towns could be selling scrap permits for these guys to go over and get stuff of the island. its a win-win
Ray C. November 30, 2012 at 07:15 PM
As a followup, the CLAW truck went through my neighborhood yesterday, and they picked up all of the tree debris in the neighborhood. We'll probably need a good street sweeper to keep all of the leaves from clogging the sewers, but the workers did a fantastic job. That was a LOT of debris to clean up. It's almost feeling normal again.

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