By Mary Walton and Charles Layton
Despite a countywide ban on outdoor watering, the Borough of Bradley Beach has had all its oceanfront sprinklers running full blast for most of this week.
These are the sprinklers that water the extensive grassy areas and flower beds all along the boardwalk.
We have personally observed these sprinklers every morning since last weekend, when the watering ban was imposed.
On Friday morning we encountered a Public Works employee near one of the flower beds. He told us the sprinklers had all been turned off on Thursday. He seemed irritated when we told him we had seen several still going strong just minutes earlier. He continued to insist they had all been turned off and then said he’d had nothing to do with it.
Borough Administrator Gail O’Reilly also seemed impatient when we called her on Friday morning to ask if she could explain why Bradley had been violating the ban all week.
“I was informed that the sprinklers had been turned off,” she said. We pressed her to explain why they had been on all week. She simply repeated that she had been told they were off. She declined to give further explanation except to say that the sprinklers are programmed to turn on and off automatically.
A water emergency was declared on Friday, June 29, for all of Monmouth County — including Bradley Beach — following a water main break at the Swimming River Reservoir. Practically all outdoor water use was prohibited until further notice, specifically including the watering of lawns, trees or gardens.
Gov. Chris Christie announced on Saturday that law enforcement officers would issue warnings and summonses to those caught violating the outdoor-watering ban. Neptune Township also announced that its police would strictly enforce the ban. Bradley Beach made no such announcement.