Mother Nature, appearing locally in the form of a recent typical Northeaster, caused thick seaweed to accumulate on the beachfront in several sections of the Alphabets and Gunrock and Stony Beach.
The seaweed was apparent in the areas from K to O streets, from T Street to Bradford Avenue, and on the sand beyond X, Y, and Z streets after the storm subsided, according to Public Health Director Joyce Sullivan. Gunrock and Stony Beach were also affected.
The cleanup was set to start Wednesday morning, with permission from the Conservation Commission at Sullivan’s request under an Emergency Cleanup order, according to Conservation Administrator Chris Krahforst.
Director of Public Works Chris Gardner, Krahforst, and Sullivan met at the beachfront on Tuesday to view the damage after numerous complaints from residents were received.
This situation is a Board of Health issue because high 90-degree temperatures dry out the seaweed, which attracts flies and causes an unpleasant odor, on top of the trash that floats in from the ocean with the seaweed, Sullivan told The Hull Times.
Because more equipment was needed to push the seaweed back into the ocean than what the Department of Public Works has in its possession, Gardner called in a contractor to help with the cleanup.
The DPW was scheduled to begin pushing the seaweed from Gunrock and Stony Beach back into the ocean “for Mother Nature to disperse first thing Wednesday morning,” with help from the contractor in the XYZ streets area using front-end loaders and avoiding the marked plover areas.
This is not the first time there has been a problem with seaweed on the beaches. “There have been times when it has been 6- to 8-feet deep,” Gardner recalled. “It can take a few days to remove it. This wasn’t as bad as it has been on some occasions in the past, but a pretty good amount accumulated this time, too. We try to get it back into the water before it attracts flies and causes an odor.”
The seaweed gets churned up by the heavy waves and, depending on the tide and winds, gets carried onto shore. “Some people got upset” when it was not removed right away, Sullivan said, “but the time has to be right to push the seaweed back out to sea – during high tide.
“We all do the best we can to mitigate the problem. It’s unlikely that people will go to those beaches that are [seriously] affected by seaweed that has accumulated” until after the cleanup.