A pair of items to help protect the Barnegat Bay are expected to receive final approval today by the Ocean County Board of Freeholders. 

With the upcoming boating season quickly approaching, one measure authorizes agreements for the County's six pumpout boats, according to a prepared statement by the Freeholder Board.

Pumpout Boat/photo courtesy of the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders

"The purpose of the boats when we first incorporated this 18 years ago was to preserve and maintain the Barnegat Bay from sewerage that was disposed in their by boats that are in there," said Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as liason to the program.

More than 1.2 million gallons of effluent was removed from pleasure boats over the course of the program, according to Vicari.

"If it was not removed it would be in Barnegat Bay creating a serious problem as far as bacteria, as far as health problems, and giving us a bad name," he said.

Ocean County provides $20,000 per boat to cover costs such as maintenance, fuel and the salaries of captains.

"To run the pumpout boats we're very fortunate because it's a partnership that we have," noted Vicari. He said the Ocean County Utilities Authority disposes of the sewage at its own expense and the Townships that moor the vessels pay a certain percentage of the cost too.

Recreational boating is very important in Ocean County, which leads the state of New Jersey, and it is part of the $4.3 billion a year in tourism the County generates, according to Vicari.

He said the county's fleet of six pumpout boats, the state's largest, is paid for through the federal Clean Vessel Act.

"We begin the program starting Memorial Day and it goes through October, and it's all free," said Vicari, adding the fleet covers different areas of the bay throughout the County.

A second measure awards a contract to Marbro Inc., of West End, in the amount of $901,117, to install Manufactured Treatment Devicesthis spring that help stop floatables and other sediments from entering the Toms River.

Manufactured Treatment Device/photo courtesy of the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders

The devices will be installed at Double Trouble Road at Brook Forest Drive in South Toms River, Starboard Street at Cedar Street in Beachwood, Beachwood Boulevard at Compass Avenue in Beachwood, Harpoon Street at Bayside Avenue in Beachwood and Station Avenueat Riverside Drive in Pine Beach.

The concrete device works to slow water down thereby forcing particles or sediment to drop to the bottom of the device. The Ocean County Road Department's stormwater management crews can easily remove the sediment from the treatment device and properly dispose of it.

"Our work to preserve Barnegat Bay is ongoing," said Freeholder Director John C. Bartlett Jr. "The installation of Manufactured Treatment Devices is part of the continuing efforts to reduce pollutants from entering the bay and its tributaries."

The Freeholder Board meets at 4 p.m. in Room 304 of the County Administration Building.