DEP: No Contaminants Found in 'Reclaimed' Sand Deposited In Ortley Beach
Sand from Route 35 project, Barnegat Bay makes its way onto the oceanfront in Ortley Beach
Ortley Beach residents, in recent weeks, have quietly voiced concerns to township officials over the use of so-called "reclaimed" sand being deposited on the oceanfront by township trucks and contractors in order to shore up the temporary dune against winter storms. Though extra sand is always a welcomed sight, the residents have questioned whether sand reclaimed from the bottom of Barnegat Bay, from public streets and even the Route 35 reconstruction project could be subject to contamination.
But tests show the sand is, indeed, clean despite the presence of aggregate material mixed in with the finer beach sand.
"It's all been tested," said Township Administrator Paul Shives.
Officials with the state Department of Environmental Protection confirmed the sand being laid down on township beaches has been tested and no contaminants were found.
"Our most recent survey of the beach and dunes in Ortley Beach was on Thursday," said Bob Considine, a DEP spokesman. "Our inspectors dug holes into the dunes and beach in various locations along the oceanfront and found the material to be mostly sand."
Township officials have informed the DEP that the sand was sourced from numerous locations, such as sand trucked in from a quarry, dredge material from Crowder Gulf – the contractor that worked on the post-Sandy cleanup of Barnegat Bay – and some material from the Route 35 project.
Recently, an Ortley Beach resident, who did not wish to be identified publicly, sent photos of what appeared to be chunks of blacktop mixed in with sand. A similar report of roadway materials was recently included in a newsletter sent by a private group of Ortley Beach residents.
Considine said the township has agreed to rake the areas in order to flush out the aggregate materials. The township is also hosting a beach cleanup project next month during which volunteers will remove solid materials from the sand.
The dredge material from Crowder Gulf and the reclaimed sand from the Route 35 project was tested and results were provided to DEP, Considine said, and in both cases no contaminants were found.