In 2009 The Environmental Protection Agency shut down beach access to Laurence Harbor beach front which is a section of Old Bridge Township due to contamination of the water of slag from National Lead Industrial Site in Sayreville. Long padlocked fencing is a constant reminder not to use the beach and swim in the water. I read an article in the Star Ledger which made the situation even more grim than ever. Poor residents don’t have use of their snack bar pavilion, and they couldn’t swim last year, or this year, and maybe not next year. The truth of the matter is that being from Laurence Harbor (the slum of Old Bridge as they call it), we know if we were to even step foot in that water we would be punished. That is not an ocean, it’s a bay. It’s a bay that collects all of the garbage that floats in from the ocean. The bigger problem of this mess is not that we can’t go in that nasty water (why would we when we can drive 20 minutes and then we have miles and miles of beautiful beaches with access to the ACTUAL ocean). The problem is the drop in housing prices due to the years of fencing and urgent signs which appear at signs of a mass contamination of a town, not scum in the water. I will say that the town was awarded money for improvement of the boardwalks, walking paths, and children’s playground which does help the community, but the fencing is such an obstacle to anyone that wishes to sell their home in the area. Who knows how long it will go on. My lingering question for the EPA is …. why did you fence off the beach but you allow the pier to remain open for fishing?
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