BELMAR, NJ — Emergency work to repair a ruptured sewer in a three-block area of L Street, between 16th Avenue and River Road, has begun.

Mark Woszczak, a Manasquan-based mechanical contractor, has been awarded the no-bid contract for the $148,225 project, under an emergency appropriation approved by the borough council during a May 11 special hearing. The work was deemed necessary after an inspection of the the sanitary sewer system by the borough’s Department of Public Works revealed that contaminants from the sewage system were entering the stormwater system.

While the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has given the borough 30 days to make the repairs, Borough Administrator Colleen Connolly said that the project should be completed within several days once it begins. “It’s a public health issue, and we want to fix it as soon as possible,” she added.

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Meanwhile, work equipment has been staged on L Street and signage has been posted prohibiting parking on both sides of the street until Thursday, May 25.

Connolly explained that during times of high-charged events — high rainfall and high sewage usage —  some contaminants have been crossing over into the (stormwater) system through holes in a clay pipe along L Street.

Once the break is repaired, borough officials expect an increase in the water quality on the L Street beach on the Shark River — an area that has been plagued with higher-than-average bacteria counts. Last August, the DEP issued a water quality advisory for L Street Beach, and the National Resources Defense Council ranked it 10th in the state for having the highest bacterial contamination — tied with 57 other beaches in New Jersey and eight in Monmouth County.

The sewer line project’s funding is coming from $227,179 that remains in a $5 million bond ordinance approved in 2013 for water and sewer infrastructure improvements.