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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
3/4/03

Contact: Amy Cradic,
609-984-1795

NJ DEP Closes Shellfish Beds in Response to the Sayreville Sewage Spill:
Continues to Work with Middlesex County Utilities Authority to Ensure Public Safety

(03/24) Trenton— The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in cooperation with the Middlesex County Utilities Authority (MCUA) is making an urgent request for residents and industries within the MCUA sewage treatment plant's service area to limit their water usage as much as possible in response to the March 2 sewage line break.

"By limiting water use, residents and local industries can help reduce impacts from the sewage line break on our natural resources," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "We will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that everything is being done to stop the sewage flow and protect public health."

Sewage leakage has been contained within the immediate area of the break, with trucks transporting sewage to a nearby treatment site. Eighty-five percent of the sewage flow has been diverted to a parallel sewage line, however - as a result of limited capacity in the replacement line and above average precipitation and snow melt - approximately 15 percent of the sewage flow is discharging into the Raritan River.

Limited water use is being requested to reduce sewage flow into the Raritan River. Anticipated rain and ongoing snow melt could increase the inflow into the sewage system and result in elevated flows. Residents can assist by taking shorter showers instead of baths, reducing dishwasher use and turning off water while brushing teeth. DEP also is asking any industries with the capability to minimize their wastewater flow to do so at this time.

On March 3, 2003, DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell issued a public notice closing shellfish beds in the Raritan Bay, Sandy Hook Bay, Navesink River and the Shrewsbury River. Harvesting activities are banned until further notice. While the DEP understands the impact the shellfish bed closures has on harvesters, public health concerns are paramount.

The DEP is conducting ongoing water sampling tests and will continue to monitor the environmental impacts that result from the sewage discharge.

Areas within the Middlesex County Utility Authority's service area that are being asked to limit water use include:

Middlesex County

Bound Brook, Carteret, Cranbury, East Brunswick, Edison, Franklin Township, Helmetta, Highland park, Jamesburg, Metuchen, Middlesex, Milltown, Monroe, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, Old Bridge, Perth Amboy, Piscataway, Plainsboro, Plainfield Area Sewage Authority (Bridgewater, Dunellen, Greenbrook, Plainfield, North Plainfield, South Plainfield, Scotch Plains, Watchung, Warren Township) Sayreville, South Bound Brook, South Brunswick, South River, Spotswood and Woodbridge.

Somerset County

Bound Brook, Bridgewater, Franklin, Green Brook, North Plainfield, South Bound Brook, Watchung and Warren Township.

Union County

Fanwood, Plainfield and Scotch Plains.

 

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