Observers report ocean discoloration at Lake Takanassee outfall

    (Photo: Sara Maraliese via COBRA: Citizens in Opposition to Beach Restrictive Access)

    (Photo: Sara Maraliese via COBRA: Citizens in Opposition to Beach Restrictive Access)

    Brownish ocean water reported this morning in Long Branch was due to the backup of water behind an emergency berm created to prevent a contaminant from escaping, a state official said. 

    “The ocean is brown and smells horrible!” reported Sara Maraliese to Facebook page of COBRA: Citizens in Opposition to Beach Restrictive Access, a grassroots coastal watchdog group. 

    Crews working on a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project to extend the Lake Takanassee outfall pipe on Wednesday discovered creosote from subsurface timbers while excavating a wooden bulkhead, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Press Director Bob Considine said in an email.

    “The Corps immediately reached out to the DEP and constructed a sand berm to form a makeshift basin to prevent any potential contamination from getting into the ocean or the lake,” he said. “They also deployed a sorbent boom around the area as an extra precaution. Additionally, an oil-water separator was also brought on site to remove the petroleum from the water that had been collected in the basin.”

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    Crews completed the excavation work today, Considine said, adding that the DEP’s Bureau of Compliance and Enforcement responded to the scene on multiple occasions. 

    “The natural flow between the ocean and the lake has resumed,” he said.

    Long Branch Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Stan Dziuba said various city agency representatives have visited the site since the incident occurred. 

    The final phase of a federal beach replenishment project is ongoing in the area. 

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