By Robin Rieger
TOMS RIVER, N.J. (CBS) – Views at the Jersey Shore don’t usually include mountains, but mountains of sand and mountainous piles of trash are the exceptions.
At the Ocean County Utilities Authority in Ortley Beach and at the junction of Routes 35 and 37 trash piles continue to grow. These are two of Toms Rivers’ six debris management sites where flood damaged belongings collected curbside are sorted.
“If it’s simple landfill materiel it will go to the landfill, if it’s hazmat it will go someplace else. If it’s metal or white goods it will go to recycling,” said Toms River Public Works director Louis Amoruso.
Toms River officials say in the last three weeks they’ve spent $5 million on debris removal and say total trash removal will cost about $25 million.
“The financial disaster is almost going to be as much of a disaster as the storm itself was,” said mayor Thomas Kelaher.
The mayor says under a shared services agreement, Ocean County will pay for FEMA approved trash contractors to expedite the removal process as Toms River waits for reimbursement from federal disaster funds.
“It’s changed the way we are going to collect the debris from Houses. Most of this work will be done by machines,” said Amoruso.
“It’s been horrible; I’ve been screaming and crying. I mean…furniture,” said Sue Hilyard whose furniture lined the curb.
Larger trucks will take debris like Sue’s belongings off island.
“So we make less and less trips to the landfill and become a more efficient operation,” said Amoruso.
The mayor says they can’t start to fix $30 million in infrastructure damage including streets and the boardwalk until the trash is gone.