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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 20, 2003

Contact: Jack Kaskey
609-984-1795

Sandy Hook Bay Re-Opens to Shellfishing

(03/116) TRENTON - The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today lifted a temporary closure of shellfish beds in much of Sandy Hook Bay after water sampling results showed the effect of last week's sewage spill is abating.

Marine water tests conducted every day since Saturday reveal only a third of the harvestable shellfish beds in Sandy Hook and Raritan bays were affected by the spill. The re-opened shellfish beds consistently showed acceptable water quality samples, but were closed as a public health precaution in case the tainted water spread.

DEP Deputy Commissioner Joanna Samson ordered a portion of the shellfish beds in Sandy Hook Bay re-opened in areas that never tested above the shellfish harvesting standard for fecal coliform. Shellfishing on the re-opened beds will resume Thursday morning.

Shellfish beds in Raritan Bay and a portion of Sandy Hook Bay remain closed pending the results of further water sampling. Additional areas could be re-opened within the next week. Shellfish beds that exceeded fecal coliform standards will remain closed for several weeks to give the shellfish time to purge themselves of contaminants.

About 25,000 acres of shellfish beds in Raritan and Sandy Hook bays were closed Sunday after widespread power outages last week allowed about 500 million gallons of raw sewage from New York City to bypass some treatment facilities. About 2 million gallons bypassed a treatment plant in Newark.

 

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