Two sites in Brick that handle debris material left in the wake of Superstorm Sandy were tested by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and found to be free of hazardous substances in the surrounding air.
The agency tested the debris removal site at the former Foodtown lot on Route 70 as well as the Brick Beach III parking lot on Route 35 – where sand is sifted before being returned to the beach – about two weeks ago, the agency said.
Inspectors used machines to test the total dust at each site, and at both, zero milligrams per meter were detected.
Other local sites did show limited amounts of some contaminents – such as 168 parts per million of carbon monoxide at Funtown Pier in Seaside Heights in the space where workers were cleaning up debris near a running generator, or .04 milligrams per meter of dust at a sand sifting site there – but nothing that exceeded permissible federal levels.
The purpose of the sampling was to measure potential or actual employee exposure to potential health hazards during recovery operations, OSHA said in a statement.
Sampling was conducted in a variety of locations throughout the storm affected areas. The results of the first round of sampling show that while some contaminants were present, such as carbon monoxide, asbestos and silica, they had not exceeded any of OSHA’s permissible exposure limits.
"These initial results should not be taken by employers as an 'all clear' signal regarding potential exposure to health hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York, in a statement. "It is important that each employer continually ensure that workers are not overexposed. Employers can accomplish this by performing site assessments to determine potential hazards and institute effective measures to protect workers against exposure to toxic substances such as asbestos, lead and mold."
Brick Township is continuing to collect debris from the storm. Once it is collected, it is taken to the Route 70 site, and from there, it is sent in large quantities at a time to the Ocean County Landfill in Manchester.
Ocean County took over debris management services shortly after cleanup from Sandy began.