Over the weekend, hundreds of syringes found washed up on the New Jersey shoreline from Sandy Hook to Long Branch caused authorities to close some beachs in the area.
Recent storms have contributed to what the Department of Environmental Conservation is saying is an “isolated incident.” Several sewer systems overflowed, leaking waste miles away without first receiving treatment. The DEC blamed floodwaters that caused the combined sewer overflow (CSO). “In a period of high rain that CSO could discharge wastewater without first being treated by the treatment plant,” DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette said.
Heavy rains and storms in the past have washed up medical debris on the Jersey Shore, yet the Long Branch business administrator George Jackson said in regards to the number of syringes, “We only had one yesterday so, we’re hopeful that what happened was a rare occurrence.” With dozens of needles found on Monmouth Beach alone on Sunday, patrollers and lifeguards warned beachgoers, if venturing into the water, to be careful as there is a significant possibility of stepping on needles. “I warned them, so there’s not much I can do, you know?” Monmouth Beach Bathing’s Pavillion-Danielle Britton said.
Many of the aging sewer systems of New York City and North Jersey bordering the New York Harbor release sewage containing “anything and everything into the harbor,” one woman said recently. [NBC4 NY] Based on past investigations, authorities at the DEC department said the syringes are more than likely being used by individuals with diabetes who flush the needles down the toilet. While some areas may still be closed, many sites reopened on Monday with little concern after the Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park did a thorough inspection of the affected regions. Authorities have urged citizens to learn to dispose of needles in a safe way.
ARTICLE: KRISTA DROOP
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: WOBM.COM