Beaches reopen after more needles wash up onto Jersey Shore
BRICK — Five beaches in Ocean County that closed as a precaution Wednesday after needles washed up on Normandy Beach in Brick were given the green light to open Thursday by state and county officials.
The home-use diabetic-type syringes are similar to what washed up at Seven President’s Park and Monmouth Beach on Sunday.
Both instances of medical waste were the result of sewer overflow from New York City and North Jersey following heavy rain from thunderstorms and Tropical Storm Elsa, according to the state DEP.
Normandy Beach along with 7th Avenue Beach in Brick, Lyman Beach and Princeton Beach in Mantoloking, Maryland Beach in Point Pleasant Beach and East Tuna Way Beach in Tom River were raked at high tide around midnight and again in the early morning hours.
"We had a team out there first thing this morning walking the areas where some of the medical waste washed up Wednesday. Nothing was found today, nothing was found late Wednesday. Everything was earlier in the morning and mid-afternoon," Ocean County Health Department spokesman Dan Regenye told New Jersey 101.5.
Regenye said the DEP flew a helicopter over the area and saw no sign of additional waste, adding that the beaches will continue to be monitored. The waste is also being examined by the state Attorney General's office to find specifically where it came from.
Clean Ocean Action Executive Director Cindy Ziff described the first incident as being a "big flush" of anything on the street.
"The garbage juice, the litter, any needles that may be in those pipeline systems. And also all the raw sewage because all those areas are on combined sewers, so when it rains that much it's just all getting flushed into the waterways," Ziff said.
NJ 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said there was a threat of thunderstorms and downpours again this weekend.
"When heavy rain falls, all that rain has to go somewhere. And in this case, it looks like the sewer system was overwhelmed," he said.
Unrelated to the washed up syringes, two advisories issued for beaches in Point Pleasant Beach and Seaside Heights were dropped on Thursday, after water testing results were below the allowed threshold for bacteria.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ