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June 28, 2013

Contact: Lawrence Hajna (609) 292-2994
Lawrence Ragonese (609) 984-1795
Hollie Gilroy PVSC (973) 817-5735

Program Has Removed Millions of Pounds of Debris Since Superstorm

(13/P68) TRENTON – Officials from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Department of Corrections (DOC) joined with the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) today to showcase the Clean Shores program as inmates worked to remove pieces of lumber and other storm debris from a stretch of Hudson River waterfront at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. As part of an ongoing and successful partnership, the Christie Administration has been utilizing state prison inmates to help clean urban and other shorelines of debris deposited by Superstorm Sandy, as well as other trash and debris.

“The Clean Shores program partnership has long been an important and successful part of keeping New Jersey’s ocean beaches and urban shorelines free of debris and litter,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “This program has taken on an even more significant role since Superstorm Sandy, removing more than two million pounds of debris and trash from our shorelines. This program will continue focusing on removing debris throughout the summer, especially in our urbanized areas.”

Clean Shores is a statewide program that removes floatables such as wood, garbage, and recyclables from tidal shorelines with the use of state inmate labor. Since its inception in 1989, the program has removed some 140 million pounds of floatables and cleaned and re-cleaned more than 2,600 miles of shorelines.

The program is a key part of the state’s Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program, a multi-agency effort that utilizes state, federal and local resources. The program monitors beach water quality, conducts aerial surveillance of beaches, and intercepts floating debris before it impacts the beaches.

Funding for the Clean Shores program comes entirely from the sale of the Shore Protection "Shore to Please" motor vehicle license plates.

The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission has been participating in the program for 10 years, and this year is undertaking extensive cleanups in Essex, Hudson and Union counties, many focused on Sandy debris removal.

“A project of this magnitude is only made possible by building strong partnerships.  PVSC is pleased to continue our work with the DEP and the Department of Corrections to clean the shorelines in our service area,” said PVSC Executive Director Michael DeFrancisci. “Given the catastrophic events associated with Superstorm Sandy, this work is more critical than ever. As a result, these cleanups will protect wildlife habitat in these sensitive ecosystems, and provide safer navigation in the harbor.”

Crews are being deployed to clear the Newark Bay shoreline of debris in four municipalities in PVSC’s service area:  Newark, Bayonne, Jersey City and Elizabeth. The DEP uses the DOC’s inmate labor to supplement the effort.

The work will take approximately ten weeks to complete, with PVSC and DEP providing skilled manpower. PVSC is providing equipment to move and dispose of the material collected by the inmates.

“The New Jersey Department of Corrections is proud to be part of such a worthwhile collaborative effort. The Clean Shores program provides state-sentenced offenders with an opportunity to give back to our communities in a tangible way, while also improving our environment,” said DOC Commissioner Gary M. Lanigan. “Together, the PVSC, DEP and DOC are making a positive difference in New Jersey.”

The targeted shoreline of Newark is all industrial, while the sites in Bayonne entail primarily parkland. In addition, the Jersey City location is a mixed-use site, with a large portion being Liberty State Park. Elizabeth is largely undeveloped shoreline.

“The inmates participating in this program can remove up to 16 tons of debris per day, depending on the location,” said Virginia Loftin, DEP’s Clean Shores program coordinator. “They are able to get at small debris in often hard-to-reach places, and provide the perfect complement to New Jersey’s waterway debris removal efforts.”

The PVSC operates one of the country's largest treatment systems, serving more than 1.4 million people in five counties. PVSC began its partnership with the Clean Shores program in 2003, providing a crew from their River Restoration Program to assist the DEP program.  Debris typically includes large timbers and dilapidated docks, which require crews to use heavy machinery, including a front-end loader and chainsaws.

On average, crews fill between two to three 30-yard containers each day; the containers are provided by the PVSC. In 2012, the partnership removed more than 781,000 pounds of debris from the shorelines of Bayonne, Jersey City and Elizabeth.

 The PVSC’s River Restoration Program was created in 1998 and works to protect more than 100 miles of area waterways.  To date, the PVSC has removed over 10,000 tons of debris from the Newark Bay, the Passaic River and its tributaries, and has sponsored over 872 individual clean-ups along shorelines and in communities, along with educating about 200,000 students on how they can help protect the Passaic River and our environment.

 “Partnering with the Clean Shores program is another way that the PVSC continues to carry out our mission of preserving and protecting our local waterways,” said PVSC Commissioner Kenneth J. Lucianin. “This partnership complements our existing cleanup efforts, including the deployment of our skimmer vessels, the sponsorship of volunteer cleanups and our educational outreach efforts in local schools.”

For more information on the Clean Shores program, visit:

For information on the state’s waterway cleanup efforts and other Sandy-related initiatives, visit:

For more information on the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, visit:



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Last Updated: June 28, 2013