Chiropractic care is a drug-free, non-invasive approach to overall wellness and healing that focuses on correcting issues with your musculoskeletal system. When performed by a licensed chiropractor, it can alleviate and even eliminate common problems such as:
To treat your conditions and help reduce your pain, chiropractors use time-tested, hands-on techniques to adjust your spine, neck, back, and other joints throughout your body to restore proper function, mobility, and alignment. Once your body is in proper alignment, it functions optimally, leading to improved overall wellness and health.
Unlike some sports rehab clinics in The Garden State, chiropractors from NJ Sports Spine & Wellness work with you one-on-one to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific goals and needs relating to your pain and ability to live a normal life. Because our team takes a holistic approach to healthcare, we cover all aspects of your health and wellness when developing your chiropractic treatment plan. That way, we increase your chances of living a fulfilling life free of pain and worry about throwing your back out.
Seeing a chiropractor can quite literally change your life for the better. According to the American Chiropractic Association, in general, chiropractic therapy is a more effective solution for back pain than other treatments like addictive pain pills, surgeries, and yoga. When combined with services like physical therapy, occupational therapy, and acupuncture, chiropractic care may be the key you need to open the door to a pain-free life.Shedule An Appointment
Some of the many benefits of seeing a reliable, licensed chiropractor include the following:
Perhaps the most obvious reason to make an appointment with a chiropractor is for back pain relief. Some people only need to see a chiropractor when they have occasional back pain, such as when they wake up in the morning. Others, such as those who have been in serious car accidents, need regular chiropractic adjustments and therapies, which are often supplemented with techniques like physical therapy and acupuncture.
There are many causes of back pain that range from advanced conditions like having sciatica and herniated discs to everyday issues like poor posture and sleeping in a harmful position. Your chiropractor's job is to pinpoint the cause(s) of your back pain and build a customized plan to address your musculoskeletal conditions. Once that happens, pain relief follows shortly after.
At New Jersey Sports Spine & Wellness, we craft personalized chiropractic plans for every patient we treat, with the goal of avoiding harmful surgeries and addictive medicines.
If you've never experienced a headache in your life, you're exceedingly rare. Just about every American will suffer from a headache at some point or another. For some, headaches only happen occasionally and are not much more than an annoyance. For others, headaches evolve into crippling migraines that can affect quality of life, ability to work, and much more.
If you find yourself digging into a bottle of Aspirin or something stronger when you have a headache, it might be time to visit an NJSSW chiropractor.
Do you wake up in the morning feeling like you didn't sleep a wink the previous night? Do you have to take sleep aides like Ambien in order to drift off to dreamland? If you have chronic back pain, getting a full night's rest is easier said than done. From misaligned spines to improper sleeping posture, your chiropractor in Laurence Hbr can use manipulation therapy and other techniques to boost blood flow and align your vertebrae, so your body can heal itself and help you rest better.
One of the best things about seeing your chiropractor is that when your session is over, you often feel great. The pain relief feels phenomenal. When you're not in pain, you have a more positive outlook on life, and often enjoy better sleep, blood pressure, and even sexual relations. It makes sense, then, that chiropractic care has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety, which promotes relaxation and improved mental health.
At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, we work with a long list of athletes who suffer from sports injuries and other problems that can manifest from being active. For professional athletes, having a trustworthy chiropractor to care for them is needed for their careers. But you don't have to be a pro athlete to benefit from chiropractic care. Ordinary people that enjoy active lifestyles can reap tremendous rewards through chiropractic care, such as improved range of motion and relief from compressed discs.
Whether you enjoy impromptu games of tag football or simply want to play with your kids, seeing a chiropractor can help you be healthy and active without fighting back, neck, and joint pain. That's especially true when chiropractic therapy is used in conjunction with acupuncture, physical therapy, or occupational therapy.ies and addictive medicines.
Your NJ Sports Spine & Wellness chiropractor in Laurence Hbr may use a range of techniques to restore function and alignment in your body. Some of the most common techniques our chiropractors use include:
Life has a habit of being unexpected. Sure, some surprises only hurt your bank account, like last-minute renovations in your home. But severe incidents, like car accidents, can inflict physical injuries that cause you long-term pain. These problems, like neck and back injuries, affect many Americans daily. Even worse, many hardworking people turn to risky surgeries and addictive pain medications, only to find themselves deep in a hole that seems impossible to get out of.
If you suffer from serious range-of-motion issues or you're in chronic pain, it's important to know that you have treatment choices. You don't have to put your health at risk to relieve your pain. One of the most successful non-invasive treatments offered for pain is physical therapy. The main goal of physical therapy is to restore movement and function to patients affected by illness, injury, or disability.
Physical therapists work with patients of all ages and abilities, from children to elderly adults, to help them overcome physical limitations and improve their quality of life. At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, our physical therapists help treat a wide range of conditions, from neck pain and spinal cord injuries to back pain and arthritis.
Once our PTs have made headway, they will often use our chiropractic therapy to provide the patient with more relief. Having the option of both chiropractic and physical therapy is often very effective, because your chiropractor in Laurence Hbr can address nerve irritation and joint dysfunction while your physical therapist helps retrain your musculoskeletal system, allowing your body to heal faster.
Some of the biggest benefits of using physical therapy along with chiropractic care include:
Occupational therapy, or OT, is to help patients of all ages and abilities engage in activities of daily living, or ADL. Often, that means helping patients reclaim the ability to continue working, going to school, accomplishing day-to-day tasks, or other activities common to daily living.
Occupational therapy can benefit individuals going through many conditions, such as traumatic brain injuries, strokes, spinal cord injuries, autism spectrum disorders, developmental delays, and chronic pain. The end goal of occupational therapy is to help patients achieve the maximum level of independence and participation in their daily lives. If pain, discomfort, weakness, fatigue, or fear prevent you from participating in activities you love, an OT from NJ Sports Spine & Wellness could become the MVP of your wellness journey.
To give our patients the most complete pain relief and recovery options, our doctors and practitioners will often lean on the expertise of both a physical therapist and a chiropractor in Laurence Hbr. By working together, your PT, OT, and chiropractor can provide you with a comprehensive approach to total-body functionality, from your spine and joints to your mind and range of motion.
Some of the most common benefits of using OT with chiropractic care include:
Acupuncture boosts your body's functions and helps improve its ability to heal through anatomic site stimulation - usually called acupuncture points or acupoints. To stimulate these points, acupuncturists at NJ Sports Spine & Wellness insert fine, sterile needles into your skin. Most patients don't feel any pain as needles are applied. Typically, needles are left in the skin up to 30 minutes. After your session, it's normal to feel incredibly relaxed.
While some practitioners still adhere to traditional philosophies, modern acupuncturists take an integrative approach to the therapy. Today, professional acupuncturists use these techniques to stimulate your body's natural healing and pain-fighting processes. When coupled with personalized care from a chiropractor in Laurence Hbr as well as physical or occupational therapy, you can find real relief from the physical and emotional roadblocks holding you back. Some of the most reported benefits of acupuncture treatment include:
During an acupuncture session, you may feel a slight sensation of warmth or tingling at the needle's site of insertion. Generally speaking, acupuncture is painless and perfectly safe for you to consider. In fact, many practitioners and doctors recommend combining acupuncture with other treatment options like chiropractic adjustments.
Though acupuncture and chiropractic therapies come from different origins, both include non-invasive, holistic, and gentle approaches that don't require drugs to work. They also both facilitate total-body healing by addressing the underlying causes of your symptoms - not just the symptoms themselves.
Because acupuncture is known to release endorphins and improve blood flow, having a session prior to a chiropractic adjustment can be very beneficial. That's because, after acupuncture, your muscles are less stiff, more relaxed, and easier to adjust effectively. Over time, as you combine acupuncture and chiropractic therapy, you'll benefit from less inflammation and less pain as you heal from injuries or musculoskeletal conditions. That same truth applies to patients who undergo serious chiropractic adjustments.
At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, our staff consists of licensed and highly-trained professionals, including specialists focusing on:
Every member of our team believes that the path to wellness and a pain-free life begins with customized treatment plans that cater to your needs and body. Unlike some chiropractors in Laurence Hbr, we do not treat on-the-surface symptoms with one-size-fits-all therapies. We do not rely on powerful pain medications to mask your pain or invasive surgeries that require weeks of recovery. Instead, we address the root causes of your pain so that we can help you live the happy, healthy life you're craving.
To achieve that goal, we'll conduct an in-depth evaluation to learn about your medical history. We'll also perform diagnostic tests and speak with you one-on-one to get a better sense of your needs. From there, we'll recommend the therapies that can give you a new lease on life and be there for every milestone you hit.
If you're fed up of living with the limits of pain and lack of mobility, we're here to help you break free. Contact our office today to get started.
OLD BRIDGE TWP. — The Jersey Shore starts at Laurence Harbor, a section of Old Bridge Township. The Middlesex County hamlet is unmistakably a beach town; it sits on a bluff overlooking the Raritan Bay, with clear-day views of Sandy Hook, Long Island, and the expanse of ocean beyond.In the center is a large parking lot with a bathhouse pavilion to accommodate beachgoers. There’s a bait shop right there, pizza and ice cream a few ste...
OLD BRIDGE TWP. — The Jersey Shore starts at Laurence Harbor, a section of Old Bridge Township. The Middlesex County hamlet is unmistakably a beach town; it sits on a bluff overlooking the Raritan Bay, with clear-day views of Sandy Hook, Long Island, and the expanse of ocean beyond.
In the center is a large parking lot with a bathhouse pavilion to accommodate beachgoers. There’s a bait shop right there, pizza and ice cream a few steps away.
Shoreland Circle, the residential street that overlooks the boardwalk and dunes, is a mixed collection of old narrow bungalows, and those recently expanded and modernized. Except for the hill, it looks like a neighborhood in any beachfront town, from Manasquan to Long Beach Island.
But the parking lot is empty these days, and the bathhouse is closed. A lone port-a-potty is all that’s needed.
There is no endless summer in Laurence Harbor these days. Just endless frustration. And unanswered questions. And a long, high, black chain-link fence that keeps most of the beach closed.
In the spring of 2009, the federal Environmental Protection Agency closed most of Laurence Harbor’s beaches and put 1.3 miles of Middlesex County waterfront on its list of Superfund sites. Now another summer is here, and will go, before the beach reopens. And maybe another. And maybe another.
The problem is lead-laden slag, which was taken from the old National Lead industrial site in Sayreville, where Dutch Boy paint was made, and used to anchor jetties and bolster the seawall in the area.
The EPA has a "preferred remedy" for the site, but will not make it public until next month. After that, there will be a 30- to 45-day public hearing period, ending either around or after Labor Day. And after that, well, who knows?
"We can’t discuss the proposal until it is made public," said Elias Rodriguez, a spokesman for the EPA, who added no exact date in July has been decided. "At that point, we’ll put forth several proposals, including our preferred remedy. Any cleanup schedule is contingent on the remediation plan that is decided."
Most people in Laurence Harbor take it in stride. What else can they do?
"I got over being angry two years ago," said Donna Wilson, who was working on her elaborate garden on her property, which overlooks the shoreline.
She bought one of the shotgun shacks for $395,000 a few years back — "I didn’t buy the bungalow, I bought the beautiful corner lot, and the view," she said — and began renovating right away. But within a year, the fences and warning signs went up.
A bungalow two doors down is now on the market for $260,000.
"I don’t worry too much about that," she said. "Because I’m staying for good, and I know that someday, I hope anyway, the beaches will reopen."
In the three years since the beach was cordoned off, the word "slag" became part of the vernacular of the Middlesex County waterfront.
By definition, slag is "the vitreous mass left as a residue by the smelting of metallic ore."
In Middlesex, it is a vitreous mess left as the residue of heavy industry that once dominated the bayshore, then made worse by the decision 50 years ago to use the slag on the seawalls and jetties. The 2,500 feet of seawall in Laurence Harbor have shown elevated levels of lead, antimony, arsenic and copper.
The word "slag" is now synonymous with frustration.
"You wonder what the holdup is," said Dana Stovall, who watched as her son Jaydon Tortorello, 8, ran around the playground just a few yards from the fenced-off slag. "They put up the fence and that was that. Nobody’s cleaning it up."
Most of the slag on the Middlesex waterfront is in an industrial waste-product called kettle bottoms; the hardened gunk left over in the smelting process. The kettle bottoms are easy to spot. They anchor the jetty at Cheesequake Creek in the Morgan section of Sayreville, and were dumped among the granite boulders along the seawall. Unlike the natural rocks, the kettle bottoms are burnt-orange in color, and rusted or pockmarked with corrosion. They are dense and impossibly heavy.
The slag contamination stretches from the creek jetty to Cliffwood Beach, which, like Laurence Harbor, is a part of Old Bridge Township.
But there are places along the way where beaches are open, side by side with those closed. Part of the community frustration with the beach closing lies in what is still open. The fishing jetty at Cheesequake Creek is closed, but the adjacent beach, just yards away, is open.
"I’m trying to understand this contamination," said Peter Insalaco, who owns the bait shop and tackle shop at Laurence Harbor. "If there’s so much lead, why is the water safe here (the open beach) and not there (the closed)."
While most of the Laurence Harbor Beach is closed, the boardwalk, jetty, playground and walking path are open. So is the beach just a few feet from the closed section, where Nicole Oropallo waded in to put her kayak in the water.
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"It would be nice if they got it cleaned up," she said. "But on the other hand, it’s nice that it is so quiet. When nobody’s here, I can let my dogs run."
Insalaco said the presence of the fence is "killing business in the area."
He opened his shop, Tackle U.S., last year, after the previous owner went out of business two years before.
"I opened hoping the beach would reopen soon," he said.
In fact, the area was reopened for fishing.
"That’s what doesn’t make sense," he said. "How bad can it be? That fence has got to go. It’s keeping the community down."
For Stovall, when the fences come down, life will return to normal. She once lived in a bungalow on Shoreline Drive, the house where Jaydon’s father grew up.
"He swam in this water since he was a kid," she said. "So did Jaydon. He keeps asking, ‘When will we be able to go back in the water?’"
More Mark Di Ionno columns:
Check out 'Mark in the Morning,' an online-only column from Star-Ledger columnist Mark Di Ionno taking on the day's biggest issues in New Jersey and beyond. It appears weekday mornings on NJ.com.
After Sandy hit, Kathy and Drew Litchkowski's home was destroyed, and they were worried they would never be able to sell.|Updated Wed, Dec 9, 2015 at 5:39 pm ETOld Bridge, NJ - Kathy and Drew Litchkowski planned on staying in their Laurence Harbor home for a long, long time.The small, one-story bungalow at 9 Cliffwood Way sits at the end of a quiet street. It overlooks Raritan Bay. They could walk to the beach at Old Bridge Waterfront Park.And then Sandy came.“My husband’s lived on tha...
|Updated Wed, Dec 9, 2015 at 5:39 pm ET
Old Bridge, NJ - Kathy and Drew Litchkowski planned on staying in their Laurence Harbor home for a long, long time.
The small, one-story bungalow at 9 Cliffwood Way sits at the end of a quiet street. It overlooks Raritan Bay. They could walk to the beach at Old Bridge Waterfront Park.
And then Sandy came.
“My husband’s lived on that street his whole life; we’ve had storms before where the water came up. But it was nothing like Sandy,” Kathy told Patch. “When Sandy hit, the water came over our windows. I would not wish (what happened) on my worst enemy.”
Raritan Bay flooded their street, their foundation and nearly came into their living room. On Oct. 29, 2012, the family fled, only to return later by canoe to salvage anything they could. The home and the property had been destroyed, and the Litchkowskis slowly realized they could never live there again. Even if they wanted to stay, they would have to tear down the property and rebuild from scratch. New state law mandated that all homes on their street be raised by at least 15 feet. The couple now lives in Aberdeen — but they were stuck with the Laurence Beach property.
This week, 9 Cliffwood Way became the first property in Old Bridge to be bought by the state Department of Environmental Protection as part of Blue Acres. Through Blue Acres, the DEP has bought similar distressed properties nearby in Woodbridge, East Brunswick and South River.
It’s money Kathy says she and her husband wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise.
“I truly am very thankful for the Blue Acres Program; without them, I don’t know what we would have done,” she said. “I don’t think we would have been able to sell the property.”
9 Cliffwood Way will be demolished and turned into open space, a DEP spokesman said. The aim of the Blue Acres buyback is to use state money to buy distressed properties and turn them into open space, which will absorb flood water and alleviate flooding when the next big storm hits. Environmental advocates praise the program, except for one problem: Blue Acres needs more cash, some say.
Federal funds for Blue Acres are running low, says Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. 9 Cliffwood Way was purchased using funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Tittel says there are many people in New Jersey like the Litchkowskis, who want to get bought out and are waiting for money. But they may not get it, he warns, unless Gov. Chris Christie appropriates more state funding to Blue Acres.
The federal government will match any state money Christie steers towards Blue Acres. A state DEP spokesman says Tittel is wrong, and there is still about $50 million left in the program.
So far the state has extended offers to 700 homeowners, and 534 homeowners have accepting the state’s offer. Closings have been completed on 412 properties, 293 of which have now been demolished.
In fact, the DEP extended the same offer to Kathy’s mother-in-law, who lives on the same street. The older woman is now just waiting to close, Kathy said.
“Her home was destroyed. Ever since Sandy hit, she hasn’t been able to stop crying for the past two years, really,” said Kathy. “But the people at Blue Acres, and at the DEP, were really, really helpful with all this.”
OLD BRIDGE – The Planning Board has agreed that 50 properties at the intersection of Route 35 and Laurence Parkway in the Laurence Harbor section be designated as a redevelopment area.The vote came after the Board assured residents that the township would not use its powers of eminent domain to acquire th...
OLD BRIDGE – The Planning Board has agreed that 50 properties at the intersection of Route 35 and Laurence Parkway in the Laurence Harbor section be designated as a redevelopment area.
The vote came after the Board assured residents that the township would not use its powers of eminent domain to acquire the properties.
"We will not be taking anybody's property," Township Planner Veena Sawant said. "That's not the township's policy. Every plan that has been written in the last 20 years has been just for redevelopment. There is no plan in place. This is a first, baby step. It's a long and lengthy process."
"If the municipality wanted to utilize eminent domain or condemnation for this or any of the other redevelopment, it has to do so right from the start," Planning Board attorney Joseph Sordillo said. "In this case, it can't happen. It just can't happen unless this whole process starts from the beginning all over again and everyone will be given notice of that fact."
The redevelopment designation does not include any recommendations for specific development. That will happen later in the drafting of a redevelopment plan by the Planning Board and Township Council with public input.
The properties in the redevelopment area include several single-family homes at least 70 years old, as well as the Laurence Harbor Post Office, Laurence Harbor First Aid Squad, Hoffman Pharmacy, Lisa Restaurant, Harbor Liquors, Krauszer's, Dunkin’, a vacant bank and a strip mall with a high vacancy.
The redevelopment study was prompted by underutilized and vacant parcels, vacant stores and the area’s proximity to the Laurence Harbor waterfront and community facilities.
The area consists of 25 residential lots, 13 commercial lots, five public lots, one church, four vacant lots, and two other tax-exempt parcels.
In 2020, the Council authorized the Planning Board to undertake a study, Sawant said.
Sawant said she believes the residents living there will benefit from the designation, including the opportunity to apply for a short-term tax exemption.
The state's Five-Year Exemption and Abatement Law authorizes municipalities to grant short-term tax abatements and exemptions for home improvements, commercial and industrial improvements, and the improvement or conversion of multiple dwellings in redevelopment areas.
But, she said, the township is not going to force property owners to do anything.
In addition, she said, "just by the designation, your property value goes up and that has been historically true."
Two gas stations in the area are brownfield sites that need to be cleaned up, Sawant said, and the old post office building needs rehabilitation.
There also are a few homes with driveways forcing residents to back out onto Route 35. "It's a dangerous location," she said.
The area is bounded by Laurence Harbor Beach to the north, McKinley Avenue and Morningside Avenue to the east, Ravine Avenue and Sunset Avenue to the south and Lakeview Road and the Harbor Plaza strip mall to the west.
Several residents spoke at the meeting and expressed concerns about pedestrian safety and traffic.
Those concerns will be addressed in the drafting of the redevelopment plan, Sawant said.
Another resident said she heard a rumor that condos were coming. Sawant said she, too, heard the rumors.
"The administration, myself, we have not come across any concept, any developer who has approached us to do that," she said. "Those are rumors. There is no plan in place. Today the comments you're making are well received. When we work on the plan those comments will be very helpful to us. So your voice is definitely going to be heard, but when we write the redevelopment plan."
The owner of a vacant property behind Dunkin' said his property is "underutilized" and is something that can benefit from being in a redevelopment area.
"We certainly look forward to participating if this were to go forward," he said.
Susan Loyer covers Middlesex County and more for MyCentralJersey.com. To get unlimited access to her work, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
Enjoy time with your loved ones and keep your family safe from an accidental fireThe Communication Solutions Group, Community ContributorThanksgiving is a time to gather together, but the holiday is also the peak day for home cooking fires — with more than three times the daily average for such incidents, according to the National Fire Protection Association.Just as you want to keep your family safe this Thanksgiving...
The Communication Solutions Group, Community Contributor
Thanksgiving is a time to gather together, but the holiday is also the peak day for home cooking fires — with more than three times the daily average for such incidents, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Just as you want to keep your family safe this Thanksgiving holiday, volunteer firefighters at Laurence Harbor Fire Department train to keep their families, friends, neighbors, and community members safe each and every day. During this Thanksgiving season of service, gratitude, and thankfulness, consider giving back to your community by joining Laurence Harbor Fire Department.On Thanksgiving, the kitchen is the heart of the home, and children love to be involved in holiday preparations. Safety in the kitchen is important, especially on Thanksgiving Day when there is a lot of activity and people at home.According to NFPA, unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths. Cooking causes half (49%) of all reported home fires and more than two of every five (42%) home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.As you start preparing for your large family gathering and feast, Laurence Harbor Fire Department encourages all residents to follow a few simple safety tips so you can enjoy time with your loved ones and keep your family safe from an accidental fire:
Following these tips will not only help keep your family safe this Thanksgiving holiday but allow you the peace of mind to enjoy time with your loved ones during this season of gratitude.If you are considering giving back to your community, here are some of the benefits you’ll receive as a volunteer with Laurence Harbor:
“Being a volunteer firefighter has been a pretty good experience,” firefighter Tim Moley said. “It’s made me a better person and helped expand my skillset.”Laurence Harbor Fire Department has a great need for volunteers like YOU. The number of volunteer firefighters has significantly fallen nationwide over the past several decades.“We’re looking for ordinary citizens to come volunteer with and protect Laurence Harbor and Cliffwood Beach,” said Laurence Harbor Fire Department Chief Brian Stitzel. “It’s also highly rewarding to be able to make a difference in the community.”
To find out more about fire safety and how you can get involved in your community, please contact Laurence Harbor Fire Department. If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out an inquiry form at www.lhfd1.com.
Dissatisfied with the pace of a Superfund site cleanup in Old Bridge, the head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency said the EPA was taking over a study of how to remediate a Raritan Bay beach from the company found responsible for its lead contamination.“At its core, EPA’s Superfund cleanup program is about protecting people’s health,” EPA Administrator Michael Re...
Dissatisfied with the pace of a Superfund site cleanup in Old Bridge, the head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency said the EPA was taking over a study of how to remediate a Raritan Bay beach from the company found responsible for its lead contamination.
“At its core, EPA’s Superfund cleanup program is about protecting people’s health,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan told a crowd of three dozen reporters, environmental activists, and local, county, state, and federal officials gathered Thursday at the Raritan Bay Slag Superfund Site.
“We must address the elevated levels of lead at this site, specifically,” Regan added. “A legacy of using slag to build walls and jetties is unacceptable. We’re also sensitive to the fact that this important work impacts the availability of a treasured local resource: the beautiful beach behind us.”
Lead has been found to cause learning disabilities and other ailments in children.
In 2009 the EPA found lead levels in three locations along the Raritan Bayfront in Old Bridge and Sayreville to be more than 100 times acceptable levels, a contamination cluster collectively known as the Raritan Bay Slag Site.
Dallas-based NL Industries, which was formerly known as National Lead and operated a now-defunct plant in Perth Amboy, had provided lead slag used as fill in the 1970s for construction of a sea wall immediately north of the Old Bridge beach.
The EPA eventually named NL as the party responsible for lead contamination of the site, and in 2014 the agency ordered the company to clean it up or face hundreds of millions of dollars in fines.
NL, which in the past has denied responsibility for the contamination, did not respond to repeated requests for comment on Thursday.
The company filed a lawsuit in 2013 asserting it had merely supplied the slag and did not dump it. Rather, the suit asserted, local, county and state officials were aware of the situation and should be the ones responsible for the cleanup. Officials said Thursday that the case still had not been settled.
EPA officials said Thursday that NL had produced successive cleanup design studies for the Laurence Harbor beach, first in June 2020, and then, following agency comments, in April, which lacked sufficient detail and were otherwise unacceptable.
Rather than prolong the back-and-forth with the company, the agency decided to complete the design study itself. This was after the agency said NL had already been given an extension to produce the study beyond its initial deadline of January 2015.
“It’s more a question of the quality, they submitted the design to us twice, after the first submission, we provided comments, and when we submitted the second submission not all those comments were addressed,” Eric Wilson, deputy director of the EPA’s Region II Superfund program, said after Thursday’s event.
Walter Mugdan, the EPA’s regional administrator for the area that includes New Jersey, said the agency hoped to complete the design study by the end of 2022, though factors including the availability of funds would then determine when the actual cleanup would take place.
He and others said the federal infrastructure bill approved by the Senate and now before the House was likely to contain waterfront cleanup money that could finance the Raritan Bay project and other jobs, before the agency would then seek to recoup the costs from the responsible parties, as proscribed by Superfund guidelines.
Greg Remaud, director of NY/NJ Baykeeper, an environmental group that has followed the Raritan Bay slag project closely but did not take part in Thursday’s event, applauded the EPA’s takeover announcement as “great news,” that would surely expedite completion of the study and, ultimately, the reopening of the beach.
“That doesn’t happen a lot,” Remaud said of the design study’s takeover. “But, frankly, we’re glad it happened, because NL is a recalcitrant party.”
Regan was making his first official visit to New Jersey since being appointed to the country’s top environmental post by President Joe Biden and being sworn-in in March.
The setting was at Old Bridge Waterfront Park, a Middlesex County open space in the township’s Laurence Harbor section, where the discovery of lead had closed the beach 12 years earlier. Shaded by a tree from Thursday’s sweltering sun, Regan stood against the backdrop of an empty beach and a chain link fence that has kept visitors out since 2009.
The agency also found lead on the bayshore about eight blocks west of the beach, around a jetty near Cheesequake Creek in Sayreville, and on the sea wall’s eastern end, at Margaret’s Creek in Old Bridge. The Margaret’s Creek portion was cleaned up in 2018.
The total cost of cleaning up all three portions of the site was estimate at $79 million in 2013, though officials said the final cost is likely to be more than that.
Thursday’s event was hosted by U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th District). It included Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry, who thanked Regan for his announcement and told him, “We need your help.”
N.J. Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn Latourette was also on hand, and promised state assistance to fund the project if necessary.
The event also included Teresa Szakielo, an Old Bridge resident who chairs the Raritan Bay Slag Superfund Community Advisory Group, who was praised for her diplomatic but determined efforts to see the cleanup through to its conclusion.
“We won’t stop until it’s done,” Szakielo told the crowd. Turning to Regan, she added with a smile, “That’s a promise.”
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