Toms River officials say, “We want our residents back in.”
There are several areas of concern before Township officials can petition the Governor for permission to allow re-population of Ortley and the Northern Beaches on the Barrier Island. The “Northern Beaches” are located north of Lavallette and south of Brick Twp., such as Ocean Beach, Chadwick, Monterey, Normandy, etc.
Mayor Tom Kelaher stated, “There are four things we need to have completed before we can begin to discuss re-population of our beach towns with the Governor. In the Northern Beaches, three of those projects are almost complete, which are that the gas, electric and sewer have been restored to the homes that are intact. We are now waiting to have potable water established. “
Water is presently restored at less than half the amount of normal water pressure and it is not potable, so you cannot drink it or bathe with it, but the water is there in case of a fire emergency.
Toms River officials are monitoring the progress of the utility companies several times a day. In the Northern Beaches, all utilities are anticipated to be complete by early January. In Ortley Beach, the re-population will be much further down the road.
- Gas- The gas is currently restored to the Rt. 35 main only and not yet on the side streets. Work is on-going every day.
- Electric-The electric company, JCP&L, is re-setting meters house by house, at a rate of about 100 homes per day, based on the on-going inspections by Toms River, the State and NJDCA electrical inspectors.
- Water-We are awaiting the supply of potable drinking water from NJ American Water. They plan to conduct water quality tests within the next week. For information on turning off your water valve, click here. http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/AMERPR/2222267729x0x620842/c356e797-a806-46c9-b04f-b6ad40275ce9/FINAL_Water_Turn_Off_Barrier_Isles_2_.pdf
- Sewer-The Toms River Municipal Utilities Authority has advised us that the sewer system is operational in the North Beach section but not yet in Ortley Beach.
To allow re-population, we will approach the Governor when all of the utilities are restored. We will not fabricate our progress, at the expense of the safety and well-being of our residents.
Mayor Kelaher addressed the concerns that residents have, in light of the fact that neighboring Lavallette homeowners will be allowed back in their homes this weekend. “This storm has been a devastating ordeal for everyone. It’s fortunate that Lavallette, for the most part, was spared the problems that Ortley has. Asking why we can’t return as soon as they can is an unfair comparison. We have 6,500 homes on the island, while Lavallette has only 2,300.”
By the numbers
-To date, Public Works has delivered 42,000 tons of debris to the Ocean County Landfill from storm damaged properties.
-Over 300,000 cubic yards of debris have been collected curbside since the hurricane. In comparison, neighboring Lavallette has collected 65,000 cubic yards.
-Our infrastructure damage is 20 times that of Lavallette.
-We have lost entire roadways and were plagued with approximately 100 sinkholes. Lavallette was spared those problems.