Post-rain outfall shutoff may reduce beach bacteria

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Outfall pipe at Wreck Pond. FILE PHOTO / THE COAST STAR

SPRING LAKE — The Borough of Spring Lake hopes to have found the solution to what has been causing its beaches to test for a high amount of bacteria in its water.

According to Borough Administrator Bryan Dempsey, the borough will close the short outfall pipe from Wreck Pond prior to rain storms to allow the excess water to only come out of the main outfall pipe.

“The last rain storm, we closed the pipe prior to the event, to see if we could actually allow the water to accumulate and go out the further pipe to prevent any beach closures from happening,” said Mr. Dempsey at the borough council meeting on Monday, June 26. “I think it did work.”

“Once we hear that rain is going to happen, we’re going to close the pipe,” said Mr. Dempsey. “If it’s an event that is going to be a ton of rain, then we will leave it open.”

A second, shorter outfall pipe was constructed and completed in November of 2016 at Wreck Pond to help alleviate flooding. The main outfall pipe is 800 feet long, and the second outfall pipe is 600 feet long. The shorter pipe lays north and parallel to the existing 800-foot pipe, which proved inadequate for proper outflow and flood control. The shorter pipe also features a fish passage to allow marine life to pass from the lake to the ocean.

So far this summer, beaches in Spring Lake have been placed under advisory by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection [DEP] three times, and one beach — Brown Avenue — was closed for two days on June 1 and June 2 after water samples exceeded the state’s recreational standard for Enterococci.

For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.