Portable Stormwater Treatment System Would Help Protect Barnegat Bay

Feb 20, 2014

A new portable stormwater treatment system may become the county’s latest tool for protecting Barnegat Bay. The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders is applying to the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust to fund the system, which would allow on-site treatment of water removed from storm drains.

“This is a major new weapon in our ongoing effort to keep the bay waters clean,” said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari.

Currently, the county utilizes jetvac trucks to flush and pump water from storm drains. The water is then collected by the truck and discharged at one of three Ocean County Utilities Authority regional treatment centers, usually miles from the work site.

“Our crews spend a lot of time traveling back and forth to the treatment centers,” Vicari explained. “With this portable system, they can spend more time actually cleaning the storm drains.” Water collected from a storm drain would be treated at the job site, then discharged directly back into the cleaned drain.

The county is also seeking Environmental Infrastructure Trust grant money for the purchase of a camera pipeline inspection truck system that would allow crews to examine the existing network of drainage pipes that lie under local roadways.

“We have more than 620 miles of county roads, and it’s often difficult to know the condition of the drainage lines under the roads,” noted Freeholder John P. Kelly, liaison to the Ocean County Department of Engineering. “This camera system will be another valuable tool both to check the state of the pipes as well as to investigate any blockages that occur.”

Last, the grant application includes funding for six manufactured treatment devices (MTDs) that would be installed on existing stormwater outfall lines. These devices, to be placed on discharge lines along the south side of the Toms River, collect suspended solids and floatables, preventing the pollution from entering the river and bay. The collected material is then removed from the units on a regular maintenance schedule.

“For nearly two decades Ocean County has been a leader in installing MTDs on stormwater outfalls,” said Kelly, who also serves as director of law and public safety. “Together, these initiatives are part of our continuing efforts to protect and preserve the Barnegat Bay.”

Altogether the county is seeking $2 million in grant funding from the Environmental Infrastructure Trust. —J.K.-H.

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