The dunes washed away, and the boardwalk planks beyond them disappeared, spreading a thick layer of ocean water and beach sand throughout the barrier island due to Hurricane Sandy.
Recreating the dunes, and clearing Toms River streets of more than a foot of displaced sand, became related problems that has turned the destroyed Third Avenue beach in Ortley Beach into a sand dumping ground.
There, where a giant parking lot, gazebo, lifeguard station and boardwalk once stood, Third and Ocean is now flattened by the storm or part of a giant mountain of sand.
The sand was pushed there by heavy construction equipment, said Toms River Office of Emergency Management Director Paul Daley. The sand had traveled throughout the island, and was pushed back on the former parking lot as a means to both clear the island of the muck but to also salvage some of the sand for beach rebuilding projects.
A mechanical sifter turns and turns, filtering out any debris from the sand. The barrel of the heavy piece of equipment turning like a hampster cage, a chute fills it with sand. Any garbage collected out of the sand falls out of the machine.
"It's amazing what this equipment filters out, the tiniest pieces," Daley said. Regulations require the sand be a certain quality in order to be reused.
The machine not only aids in properly disposing of garbage, but it's a form of recycling.
"The idea is this sand will be reused," Daley said. "That's sand the township doesn't have to go and buy."
Toms River previously awarded a $1.3 million contract to Earle Asphalt to rebuild the dunes.
In addition, officials estimated more than 300 trucks full of sand are driving over the Route 37 bridge and onto the barrier island to rebuild the dunes as they once were.