CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — A federal judge is now deciding what to do about the dune construction project in Margate, New Jersey after the Army Corp of Engineers filed a motion to be heard in court Wednesday. The controversy stems from heavy rains that have flooded newly constructed dunes. Town officials argue that the ponding water is a serious public safety hazard.
The project’s manager and several engineers told the judge that the dune construction isn’t new to Margate and that the ponding water is only temporary.
They say the delay is costing them $120,000 for every day they don’t do work.
But Margate’s attorneys say the project’s poor drainage planning has creating a hazardous, unsafe beaches that deterred seasonal visitors and has threatened the livelihood of the community. They called on lifeguards with rashes, business owners who have lost money, and an environmental engineer who says bacteria levels are at an unsafe level.
“I can’t understand how a government agency doesn’t clearly and easily make that calculation,” said Margate’s attorney Jordan Rand. “I just don’t understand why they don’t press pause, why they don’t say, ‘hey, there is clearly a problem here, we need to slow down, we need to prioritize public health and safety over the money we are going to lose if we miss a few days.'”
The judge said she wants solutions – and is looking towards fences or permanent pumps to keep the sand dry.
Last week, a state judge ordered the Department of Environmental Protection to temporarily halt the construction until they could figure out the drainage problem.
A hearing in that case is scheduled for Friday.