Hazardous debris cleaned up at inlet’s north beach

Local Surfrider chapter partnering with DNREC to remove chunks of concrete, asphalt, rusting rebar
July 25, 2023

Story Location:
Indian River Inlet
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
United States

Typically covered by sand, large pieces of asphalt, chunks of concrete and rusting rebar have been lying on the beach immediately north of the Indian River Inlet for years. However, as the beach in that area gets smaller, the hazardous construction material has begun to resurface.

With that in mind, members of the Surfrider Foundation Delaware Chapter and other volunteers have recently spent a few mornings cleaning up the material.

The morning of July 24, cleanup organizer Crystal Stokowski said she’s been working with the state for years to get the debris cleaned up. She comes to the beach pretty much every day with her son, she said, and the conditions – concrete, asphalt, rebar and other debris – are extremely dangerous.

“Having all this stuff around here has been normalized and that’s not OK,” said Stokowski.

The cleanup had to be done at low tide, otherwise it gets covered back up with a thin layer of sand and water at high tide, said Stokowski. Then it gets exposed again at low tide, she said.

Volunteer Jana Johnston said the debris has been on the beach for years, and has been covered up over the years during beach replenishment projects. They tried to push as much of it as close to the dune as possible, but it was never removed, she said.

To help facilitate the cleanup, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control provided a dumpster, skid steer and large tractor.

“This is an initiative between DNREC’s Divisions of Watershed Stewardship and Parks and Recreation to improve safety on the beach. We are grateful to the Surfrider Foundation and other volunteers for assisting us in the removal of debris,” said Shauna McVey, DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation spokesperson.

Editor’s note: The comment from Shauna McVey was provided after the deadline for the print edition.

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