Ocean County Press Release

NEARLY 18 MONTHS after Superstorm Sandy devastated the shore, lessons are still being learned on how to prepare for the next disaster.

"Something many people never considered was how gasoline and household chemicals stored in garages and storage sheds could be washed away in a flood and pose a severe environmental hazard," said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari.

Vicari said the issue was addressed at a recent meeting of the Ocean County Mayor's Association.

"I compliment Tom Fote of the Jersey Shore Anglers Association for bringing this important matter to our attention," Vicari said. "With just a little hindsight, we can prevent this problem in the future."

Vicari said gasoline cans, motor oil, pool chemicals, pesticides, lawn chemicals and other dangerous substances are often stored on the floor in garages and sheds.

During a flood, these containers can be damaged, leak and even carried away, causing widespread environmental damage.

"Even if a home is raised on pilings, these chemicals are often left in garages at ground level," Vicari said. "A simple solution is to store these materials on shelves well above the floor."

Vicari said gasoline cans and other hazardous containers were found strewn throughout areas damaged by Sandy's floodwaters.

Freeholder James F. Lacey encouraged residents to take advantage of the county's annual Household Hazardous Waste disposal program as another way to protect the environment.

Each year the county accepts, free of charge, a variety of household chemicals ranging from paint cans to pesticides at the many collection points set up in local municipalities.

"Last year we collected and safely disposed of more than 235,600 pounds of waste," said Lacey, liaison to the Ocean County Department of Solid Waste Management.

Locations and dates for the 2014 program will be released later this year.

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