In 2007, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection conducted several studies along the Laurence Harbor beachfront in Old Bridge Township. Through geographic sampling, they concluded that the seawall running along the beach contained extremely high concentrations of lead. As a result, the state posted signs and small fences prohibiting the public from the seawall, beach, and Raritan Bay. In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency added the site to the National Priorities List (Superfund) and installed larger signs and higher fences. Several years later, the agency identified the deposition of lead slag by NL Industries in the 1960’s and 1970’s as the source of the pollution, holding the company financially responsible for the cleanup of the site.
Now, in the year 2014, cleanup has yet to commence. Large white signs and immense black fences continue to distort the conception of home for many. All one can do is admire the beachfront through fence-holes from the park that lies just above it, or visit a neighboring one. This photo essay starts from an unrestricted, neighboring beachfront, and continues through the park above the contaminated Laurence Harbor beachfront.
A small, white shell lying in the sand.
Francesca the Walrus skipping across the smooth sand.
A man peering out into the distance, pondering his existence.
A boardwalk bridge leading to the park.
A boy riding his Big-Wheel on the bridge with his family.
A broken, beaten path. A proud gazebo.
The melting snow impersonating the great Raritan.
A warm embrace.
A jungle-gym residing just above the seawall. A factory looming in the distance.
The lonely, misunderstood seawall.
The bearer of bad news.