BELMAR, NJ — Progress has been made on two fronts in preparation for Belmar’s all-important beach season, which kicks off later this month.

At the Belmar Council’s May 7 meeting, Business Administrator Edward Kirschenbaum provided an update on two critical projects impacted by heavy rainfall — sewer system overflow into the Shark River along Route 35 and excessive rainwater infiltration into the beachfront 10th Avenue safety pavilion.

Since the sewerage system’s long-defunct 11th Avenue pumping station became operational on April 26 and pipelines in the area of Route 35 and K Street have been cleaned and sealed, there has been no flooding into the Shark River, near the L Street beach during significant rainfalls, he reported.

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“We’ve been diligent in cleaning the sewers lines and taking care of problems that plagued us for years and years,” Kirschenbaum said, crediting the borough’s Department of Public Works and borough engineers with spearheading the effort.

After each heavy rainfall since April 26, there was “no sign of sewage or anything else throughout the manholes. They were not flooding. The flow was continuous and (there were) no problems that caused us concern in the past,” he said.

To make sure “the Shark River remains clean,” the borough is asking the Monmouth County Health Department to begin taking water samples at the L Street Beach — under the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program.

While the seasonal program, which monitors recreational beach water quality from mid-May to mid-September at about 180 ocean and 35 bay monitoring stations along the Jersey Shore, is expected to kick off next week, borough officials are pushing to have that testing at the L Street Beach performed earlier.

“We want to make sure what we’re doing is facilitating the clean water in the Shark River … so we have something that’s measurable to make sure we’re on the right track,” Kirschenbaum said.

Since last month, the borough has been fast-tracking its efforts to determine what has been causing sewage to overflow into the Shark River along Route 35 during heavy rainfalls, following a DEP inspection last December that found numerous violations related to the operation of the borough’s sewage collection system. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

Regarding the ongoing rainwater infiltration issue at the 10th Avenue safety pavilion, the problem appears to have been identified: The doors on the new building were installed to open in — rather than opening out — causing water to seep through the door seals during heavy rains and wind.

Kirschenbaum said that the borough is working with Epic Construction of Piscataway, which constructed both the 10th Avenue pavilion and Taylor Pavilion at Fifth Avenue after Superstorm Sandy, to replace the doors.

“Our timetable is May 15 to have all the (new) doors in place and the ability to use that entire complex for the summer,” he said, adding that all the damaged sheetrock has been replaced or repaired as well.

Although the building was scheduled to be completed in 2017, it has not been fully functional for the past two summer seasons as the borough’s beachfront safety hub for police, fire, fire aid and the beach patrol due to the water infiltration issue.

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