Surf City Officials to Facilitate Meeting With Engineer, Sixth Street Homeowners

Nov 21, 2018

It doesn’t take a lot of storm water to flood certain areas of Long Beach Island. Sometimes, it doesn’t even involve storms for tidal flooding to be a problem. In Ship Bottom, they call it sunny-day flooding, and it has wreaked havoc on homeowners along West 28th Street for more years than anyone wants to admit.

Now, residents of the 300 block of Sixth Street and the adjacent homes on Barnegat Avenue in Surf City are facing a similar situation as they gear up to have their concerns addressed. In October, the residents met with borough officials to talk through their worries about flooding and possible solutions. Not everyone left the table happy when raising the crown of the road was recommended as a potential solution. It’s what Ocean County did earlier this year in one of the most flood-prone areas of Ship Bottom, between 24th Street in the borough and 33rd Street in Long Beach Township.

Last week, Surf City officials agreed to schedule a meeting with Frank Little, borough engineer, and the residents plagued by the flood water issues in an attempt to make sure everyone is on the same page with the proposed solutions. Unlike October’s council meeting, in which there were several residents of Sixth Street in attendance, there was none present at the Nov. 14 council meeting when the decision to schedule a meeting with Little was made.

However, an Oct. 9 letter from Sixth Street residents was included as correspondence on the agenda. While the letter, signed by 16 residents, acknowledges flooding at the end of Sixth Street is similar to many other streets, it also suggests the intersection of Barnegat Avenue makes it unique.

“We believe the flooding is caused primarily by the backflow, due to high tides, from Barnegat Bay through the pipes and up through the drains at this intersection, blocking travel,” the letter reads in part.

As a result, the residents are requesting that Little evaluate the pipes that connect to the drains to the bay.

“One consideration would be to raise the pipes while continuing to slope the pipes, at the necessary grade, to allow rain water to drain from the area into the bay,” according to the letter. “We understand this is a complex issue.”

The letter goes on to state that the residents are open to all of the solutions suggested at the Oct. 3 meeting, including raising of the pipes, check valves, and placement of the drains. Still, they feel strongly that without addressing the pipe issues, “raising the road will not fix the flooding.”

Last month, officials said Little was working on plans to resolve the flooding issue and there was no timeline for when a solution would be implemented.

Flooding is an issue across the barrier island. In addition to raising the crown of the Boulevard in parts of the township and Ship Bottom, borough officials there replaced a bulkhead at the end of West 28th Street and are waiting for the county to replace a washed-out berm at the intersection of West 28th Street and Central Avenue.

Beach Haven recently approved a $3 million bond ordinance to reduce nuisance flooding. The money is earmarked for the installation of 6,000 feet of new storm drains, back-flow preventers to restrict bay water from flooding the streets, and three new pump stations. Officials believe the project will help alleviate flooding along Bay Avenue and properties west of Bay Avenue.

The project is currently in the design phase with a construction start date of next fall. Beach Haven expects to seek a state grant to cover half the cost of the project with additional funding to be requested from the county. Ocean County shares ownership of the storm drains.

— Gina G. Scala

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