Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Barnegat Bay advocate alerts lawmakers to pump plume

Member of the New Jersey Legislature's Senate and Assembly environmental committees met yesterday in Lavallette to take testimony on other issues, but a local activist captured their attention when she produced a picture of a large brown plume that was discharged into Barnegat Bay earlier in the week from a federal roadway project.

Save Barnegat Bay's Executive Director Britta Wenzel told the legislators that the discharge came from one of nine pumping stations installed along Route 35 from Bay Head to Seaside Park. They are part of a $200 million federal project designed to upgrade the roadway, damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and to reduce flooding. 

Here is our interview with Britta Wenzel

Following the meeting, Mary Ann Spoto reported for NJ.com that DOT spokesman Kevin Israel said the discharge, a silt plume, was "out of the ordinary." Testing by Ocean County officials determined that the water was safe, he said.
Israel said a DOT investigation determined it was caused by a combination of silt build-up in the system from months of construction an silt from the floor of the bay that was churned up by the force of the water coming from the outfall pipe.
The pump at that station has since been turned off and will be monitored, Israel said. It can be turned on if needed during a storm, he said.
To prevent silt from being churned up in the future, DOT crews will lay a broken stone and concrete matting on the floor of the bay, Israel said.
Crews have also installed a turbidity barrier to prevent silt from being dispersed, he said. They also began cleaning manholes of silt on Friday, he said.
The system is still in its testing phase, which includes making sure the pipes are sealed, Israel said. When that process is completed, the pumps should run less frequently, he said.
"The new underground storm water drainage system is a tremendous enhancement over what existed prior to this project.," Israel said. "The new system is designed to handle 25-year storms, while the previous drainage could only handle two-year storms."

Read the full Nj.com story here

Tomorrow we will report on the other main topic considered by the committee--soil compaction standards 

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