Toms River is about to get a whole lot cleaner with the township receiving a $209,273.00 grant from the NJ-DEP as part of New Jersey's Clean Communities Program.

The DEP awarded $17,200,000.00 in CC grants to eligible municipalities around the state and nearly $2,200,000.00 to all 21-counties.

Jersey City received the highest amount followed by Newark and then Toms River.

"This funding provides an additional resource for keeping our Township Clean Communities program sustainable" Mayor Tom Kelaher said. "We are grateful for this grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and proud of the work we have done to remove litter from our streets and waterways, making Toms River a more beautiful place to live and work."

The grants will help Toms River with the cleanup of storm-water systems that can often pass along trash into the waterways, volunteer cleanups of public properties, beach cleanups, public information and education programs and purchases of litter collection equipment, litter receptacles, recycling bins, anti-litter signs and supplies to remove graffiti.

The money will also be used to pay the salaries of three Clean Communities employees (two full-time and one part-time) as well as equipment, educational programs and litter removal projects throughout the year.

The department will also use a portion of the grant to expand on its educational outreach and safety training programs.

The Public Works Department conducts tours at the Township facility and provides educational programs with a focus on recycling.

"We are also excited to announce that this year the Toms River Clean Communities program will launch a brand-new water debris collection program employing the use of a vessel purchased with funds from last year's grant," Kelaher said.

"We have had a great relationship with the NJDEP over the years," Lou Amoruso, Public Works Director for the Township said. "Toms River Educational Specialist John Clark has developed a Clean Communities Excellence in education award winning program on non-point source pollution, which has been viewed by nearly 1,500 first and second grade children this year."

Toms River also promotes the  "Adopt-a-Highway" and "Adopt-a-Spot" programs, which encourage volunteers to register with the Department of Public Works to adopt a specific area to keep litter free, clean and beautiful.

Volunteers cleaned up over 30 cubic yards of debris from the Township's public lands, roadsides and beaches.

Additionally, nearly 200 Adopt-a-Highway participants have received safety training in a joint effort involving Toms River Township and the New Jersey Clean Communities Council.

"By taking care of the environment around us, we encourage others to do the same in their own communities and build pride across the state," Kelaher said.

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