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Recent thunderstorms, with heavy rainfall, caused storm drains to back up and flood streets in the Richmond Avenue area, in Diamond Beach. 

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VILLAS – Diamond Beach residents addressed Lower Township Council again July 19, seeking answers after recent storms underscored drainage issues in the Richmond Avenue area.

A state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) notice of violation was issued, regarding the storm drain issue, calling for an action plan to remedy the situation (https://bit.ly/2W0kbo5).

Susan Zumar returned before the council, saying the storm drains are filled with sand and debris and caused flooding during recent thunderstorms.

“I hope you’re being proactive about fixing this,” she said.

Diamond Beach resident Joseph Pomponi supported Zumar’s testimony.

“This has been a constant issue for the 22-23 years I have lived in Diamond Beach. The catch basins are full of sand. We need help,” he said.

Zumar surprised council members at the last meeting when she presented the DEP's notice. No one saw the certified letter from the DEP, and it was later determined it was sent to Public Works instead of Township Hall.

Failure to comply with the notice can bring fines of $50,000 per day until corrective actions are taken. The notice gives the municipality 30 days to present a plan to fix the issue.

Township Manager Michael Laffey reiterated that the drainage issues on Richmond and Seaview avenues are being addressed, but a nesting osprey in the vicinity of the storm drain outfall delayed the work. In the meantime, Laffey said the county has equipment that will pump the drainage basins.

Plans include teaming up with the county Department of Mosquito Control, which has a special piece of equipment to reach the outfall pipe, where a camera can be used to see issues with the drainage system.

Marc DeBlasio, of DeBlasio and Associates, an engineering firm, said permanent solutions for the drainage issues at Richmond, Rochester and Seaview avenues are being developed.

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