Ocean County Press Release
Stormwater Management Projects Highlighted

TOMS RIVER – For at least the last eight summers, a small cadre of interns assigned to the Ocean County Engineering Department are tasked with working on stormwater management projects.

"This summer we had six interns, all of whom are college students, working on catch basin inspections which includes determining whether the basin is labeled, in need of repair and in need of cleaning," said Ocean County Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety. "In the last 10 weeks these students have inspected more than 5,000 inlets in addition to those already reviewed by county workers."

"This is just one of a number of steps undertaken by the County to make sure we comply with stormwater management regulations that are set forth by the state Department of Environmental Protection," Kelly said. "This program has provided the county with extensive information that allows us to maintain our storm drains."

As part of its stormwater management program, in 2009, Ocean County collected 1421 cubic yards of street sweeping materials, 1,010 cubic yards of litter was picked up from county roadways, 453 cubic yards of materials were removed from the inlets or storm drains and almost 2,000 drains were cleaned last year.

"As you can see last year alone we removed 825 tons of material from drains on county roadways," Kelly said. "That amount of material that could fill more than 45 dumpsters did not enter our waterways because of our aggressive stormwater management programs."

Freeholder Director James F. Lacey said the work of the interns complements the year-round work of the Ocean County Road Department, which oversees the repairs and maintenance of basins and drains along the 620 miles of roads maintained by the county.

"Two road department crews, each with six workers, are dedicated to stormwater management," said Lacey, who serves as liaison to the department. "The Ocean County Road Department crews perform storm drain cleanup daily, weather permitting."

Lacey noted that one of the crews is dedicated to storm drain cleaning and the other focuses on maintaining and cleaning detention and retention basins.

He noted that the crews screen street sweepings that are brought to the county garages and municipal garages after which they remove large debris particles, which are treated as trash. The rest of the material is sent to the Ocean County Landfill where it is used as either fill or cover.

Lacey said the procedures used for cleaning storm drains vary based on whether a problem exists.

"When there is a problem with drainage, we first clean out the storm drain and then video the interior of the drain in order to determine the problem which could be a major clog, or pipe deterioration," Lacey said. "The clogs are removed. However if a pipe has deteriorated, we replace it."

Road maintenance crews check and clean basins for debris, making every effort to keep them clear and free of pollutants.

"We use Jetvacs to clean out the thousands of storm basins and inlets maintained by Ocean County," Lacey said. "We have eight Jetvacs that we use for this process."

The Jetvac sucks the dirt and debris from the basin. That debris is delivered to the Ocean County Utilities Authority where it's dewatered and tested to make certain it is not hazardous. The material is screened for debris such as rocks, branches, and bottles all of which is removed. What is left - the clean fill - is disposed of at the Ocean County Landfill.

Lacey said that the road crews also maintain the county retention basins regularly cleaning them of debris and cutting the grass.

"Ocean County was one of the first to design and implement stormwater retention and detention basins for both stormwater quantity and quality control," Lacey said. "Our programs have served as models throughout the state.

"We take great pride in our environment and our waterways," Lacey said. "This is just one small step in a much larger process that helps to keep debris and pollutants from entering Barnegat Bay and its tributaries."

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