The New Jersey Department of Transportation has scrapped a plan to install a pump station to alleviate flooding at the terminus of Route 72 in Long Beach Island.
The pump station, a component of the state’s Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridge project, had been planned near Eighth and Ninth street in Ship Bottom, a crucial point for motorists entering and exiting the Ocean County barrier island.
Instead, the state is now planning to ameliorate flooding in a way that will cost less to build and maintain, according to NJDOT spokesman Kevin Israel.
“NJDOT reviewed the scope of improvements proposed in Ship Bottom and decided to construct a new drainage system composed of underground gravity flow pipes that will be installed along both 8th and 9th streets from Long Beach Boulevard to the Barnegat Bay,” he said.
This new system, according to Israel, will direct runoff to two new, separate outfall locations on the north and south sides of the East Thorofare bridge.
“This alternative provides operational redundancy, such that one clogged outfall will not cause flooding problems at both locations,” he added. “This allows the NJDOT to eliminate the pump station and still provide similar drainage improvements on Long Beach Island.”
The state came under fire during the summer of 2015 when a silt plume appeared in the Barnegat Bay near a recently installed pump station in Seaside Park.
The station is one of nine situated along the troubled waterway from Bay Head to South Seaside Park to discharge treated water collected from Route 35.
Officials said the silt, which appeared on more occasions, was clean. But opponents claimed that the sediment flow and groundwater infiltration presented serious consequences to the bay’s health.
Last spring, workers sealed pipes and manhole/pipe connections to alleviate infiltration concerns.
In Long Beach Island, Israel says the geography of Ship Bottom allows for the implementation of a gravity system unlike along most of Ocean County’s northern barrier island.
“History and engineering bore out that a gravity system was not working and would not work to keep Route 35 from flooding on the northern and southern ends of the peninsula, which is why pump stations was built,” he said, adding that outfalls were constructed along a stretch of the island where a gravity system was appropriate.