Jersey Shore towns pick up needles, tampons to reopen beaches
LONG BRANCH — More than a dozen Monmouth County beaches that were closed Thursday afternoon because of garbage that washed on shore are cleaned up and open for the weekend.
The beaches were closed by the DEP on Thursday because of “floatables” — dangerous materials such as diabetic needles, feminine hygiene products and toilet paper — that got flushed into sewer lines. DEP spokesman Larry Hajna said the waste also could have come from sewage discharged into New York Harbor.
Once the closures were announced, the municipalities — Allenhurst, Deal, Loch Arbor Village and Long Branch — worked to get the beaches reopened by Friday morning.
"By closing the beaches they were able to run their raking machines unimpeded and make multiple passes," Hajna said Friday. "They could collect the materials. We also did some visual inspections yesterday and again today in concert with municipal and county officials and the health commission and they did a great job. The removed everything and a great job."
Municipalities are well equipped for these types of situations as beaches already get cleaned on a daily basis to get rid of the garbage that people leave behind and that normally washes up onto the beach. Closing the beaches on Thursday afternoon gave them a few extra hours to work on what had washed up because of the heavy rain earlier in the week.
But beaches could still close again this summer.
"There could still be trash out in the ocean that could wash up. It depends on how the wind blows. We're going to continue to monitor and work with the municipalities and the county," Hajna said.
Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said that Friday will be a great beach day with temperatures in the 80s. Clouds increase on Saturday with showers and thunderstorms developing in the afternoon and ending by Sunday morning.