Crews from state contractor CrowderGulf have started the process of returning sand that flowed into Barnegat Bay during Superstorm Sandy to Brick Township's beachfront.
Brick is one of the first areas of the state where sand is being collected from the bay and returned to the oceanfront, which has been in dangerously slim shape since the storm pummeled the township in Oct. 2012.
The sand is not dredge material, said Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis, simply sand that was identified as having built up from ocean washovers during the storm. The sand is environmentally tested and then sifted for debris before being returned to the beach, he said.
"We're very happy they're doing this," said Acropolis. "We need it. The waves are coming right up to the berm."
Since Sandy struck, the township has had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in each storm in order to keep up a temporary berm that crews erected as a barrier to ocean breaches. A breach in Mantoloking during Sandy is thought to have caused disastrous flooding in both barrier island and mainland communities in Brick.
The extra sand will allow a larger berm to be constructed as well as a large overall beach. Most of the sand, by Wednesday night, was being deposited from the Ocean Club condominium complex to streets southward toward Camp Osborn and Normandy Beach.
In April, state officials announced they would attempt to return beach sand to the beachfront.
"The game plan is to move as much as of that sand as possible from the bay to the ocean," Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said during a conference call with reporters at the time.
Acropolis said the wet sand currently looks darker than the sand that is currently on the beach, but it will likely lighten over time as it dries and bleaches in the sun.