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Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 3183. The bill includes funding to allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take a greater role in ongoing efforts to fix significant recurring environmental hazards posed by Wreck Pond, located in my district.
On an average summer day, Wreck Pond is a picture-perfect postcard. However, just below the surface lie dangerous concentrations of high levels of fecal coliforms as well as other nasty contaminants. When it rains, this poison goes onto the beaches, and it has caused, on average, about 80 percent of all beach closings in New Jersey in the past few years.
When Wreck Pond floods, this poison pours into the basements and first floors of nearby homes, which I have seen myself on several occasions. Immediate action is necessary to improve the water quality conditions and mitigate the serious health and environmental hazards caused by its pollution to local residents.
The Corps' work at Wreck Pond will be greatly enhanced and proceed to construction earlier than normally anticipated because of extensive analysis already completed by other agencies at the Federal, State and local level, including work of a $400,000 EPA study, surveillance work by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, as well as the State's installation of provisional storm water outflow pipes and the upstream watershed management programs.
These actions have been effective. However, they are not the best long-term solution, and a permanent fix can be achieved only after the Corps begins its work.
I want to especially thank my good friend and colleague, Mr. Frelinghuysen, for his work, and Chairman Oberstar, of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, who actually made a trip to Wreck Pond in 2007 to view this himself. I thank them both. Rodney, thank you for your great work on this.
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