A passerby eyes debris in the Anchorage Beach parking lot, above, while a mountain of it dominates the former Peninsula House lot, below. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)


Mount Sandy, meet Mount Refuse.

Though smaller in stature, the mountain of debris occupying in Sea Bright’s old Peninsula House parking lot on Ocean Avenue is just as scene-stealing and ominous as its sand counterpart, located just a stone’s throw away. This ever-growing pile, however, won’t have onlookers climbing it or posing for closeups anytime soon.

The refuse is the accumulated result of curbside trash pickups in this Hurricane Sandy-smashed town, where residents and business owners are early on in a restoration effort.

It stands, however briefly, as a jarring, visceral reminder of the storm’s reach over porches, through doors and windows, and into rooms and closets.

The debris comes from the length of the sandbar town, with residents instructed to put all refuse and garbage at the curb for pick-up. According to the Sea Bright Council, whose members spoke on the subject at length during a meeting last month, any trash placed on a borough road or nearest throughway would be picked up, with few exceptions.

Weeks later, new, smaller piles are evident every day, turning sidewalks downtown into narrow alleys bordered on one side by piles of lath and wallboard, chairs, carpets, TV sets and more.

According to Councilman Read Murphy, the scope of the waste removal effort is immense. By last week, the town had collected more than 25,000 cubic yards of waste, he said. Disaster cleanup specialist AshBritt Environmental is handling the job, including disposal at the Ocean County landfill, at a projected cost of $2.2 million.

But officials are cognizant of the fact that there’s gold of sorts in the mountain, too, he said.

“We understand that a lot of people lost valuables and sentimental items,” Murphy said, “and right now we’re working to get a lost and found for those types of items, so hopefully they can be returned to their rightful owners.”

Among the valuables found were rare bottles of wine and and priceless war memorabilia, Murphy said. He noted that a woman from Rumson had found his own personal photo album, recognized him, and returned it.

One business owner who faced with a challenge was Dive owner Christina DiIorio, who was told by local officials that her liquor bottles, all touched by flood surges, had to be broken or drained before they were placed on the curbside, for public safety reasons.