CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION MARKS REMOVAL OF VIRTUALLY INTACT
HOMES SWEPT INTO BAYS BY SANDY’S POWERFUL STORM SURGE
DEP COMMISSIONER MARTIN GIVES PROGRESS REPORT ON CLEAN UP OF WATERWAYS AND PREPARATIONS FOR SUMMER SEASON
(13/P45) TRENTON – Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin today marked a significant milestone in the Christie Administration’s work to remove debris from New Jersey’s waterways by overseeing the demolition of a Mantoloking home that was swept virtually intact into Barnegat Bay by Superstorm Sandy’s record storm surge.
The home, sitting in the water some 200 feet from the edge of the bay, is one of eight nearly intact homes that Sandy pushed into bays. Two other virtually intact Mantoloking homes were swept into Barnegat Bay, while one home in Monmouth County’s Union Beach was pushed into Raritan Bay. Four others in Cumberland County’s Lawrence Township were washed into Delaware Bay virtually intact.
“These homes, just like the Jet Star roller coaster swept off Casino Pier and sitting in the ocean off Seaside Heights, have become iconic images of just how powerful and devastating Sandy was – and how this historic storm changed so many lives,” Commissioner Martin said during a news conference along the bay in Mantoloking. “The removal of these homes marks a symbolic benchmark in the progress we’ve made as New Jersey continues to recover and rebuild.”
State contractors under the direction of the DEP have been focusing on removing debris from bays, channels, rivers, inlets and other coastal waters since the beginning of March, removing pieces of structures, docks, bulkheads, boats, and cars. Priority is being given to areas that pose a threat to public safety and the environment or impede navigation, with the goal of ensuring waterways are safe for boating and recreation.
“This unprecedented debris cleanup effort has been steady and successful, with 30,000 cubic yards of debris removed from our waters since March,” Commissioner Martin said. “We have worked to ensure high quality work in a cost-effective and timely manner, while alleviating burdens on our municipal and county governments. While there is still much work to be done, we remain on track to remove much of the debris by the summer tourist season.”
“Today, one of the unfortunate icons of Mantoloking and Superstorm Sandy is going to be dismantled,” said Mantoloking Mayor George Nebel. “We cannot forget what happened to our community on Oct. 29. But with the support of the State and the Federal Government, I know that Mantoloking is well on its way to recovery as we embark on an ambitious plan to protect our community from future disaster.”
While waterways are open for recreation, the Christie Administration urges the public to exercise caution and be aware of surroundings on the water while cleanup continues.
“The waterways in some areas may be very different than before Superstorm Sandy, and boaters need to adjust their speed accordingly for safety,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Always follow commonsense measures, such as wearing a life jacket, and abstaining from alcohol consumption while boating.”
Following a four-month effort to remove more than 8 million cubic yards of debris from public rights of way in storm-ravaged communities across the state, the state hired contractors to remove debris from tidal rivers, bays and estuaries from three regions of the state. Agencies that have worked with DEP on this effort include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the state Department of Transportation's Office of Maritime Resources, State Police Marine Services Bureau, and municipal police in affected areas.
The waterway debris removal project is a large and complex effort, employing boats, barges, cranes and other apparatus to remove debris. It also requires the use of remote sensing, sonar, and other measures to seek out hidden debris. Nearly 60 homes were washed into Barnegat Bay when Sandy slammed the coast Oct. 29. Most broke apart.
Underwater obstructions that cannot be removed immediately are being marked to enable boaters to safely navigate those locations. The DEP will work with the State Police’s Marine Services Bureau, New Jersey Department of Transportation, the U.S. Coast Guard and municipalities to assess boating safety as cleanup progresses. Navigational and public safety announcements will be issued as needed.
Dredging will take place as needed, with a priority placed on areas where there is a blockage of storm sewer outfalls and shoals near marinas and other heavily traveled areas.
For general information on DEP Sandy recovery efforts and waterway debris removal updates, boating and recreation information, and information on debris removal contracts visit: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/special/hurricane-sandy/