On a humid morning in mid-August, members of the Monroe Department of Public Works awoke to their first challenge of the day: the wind had swept a trampoline into a neighborhood retention pond, according to information provided by the township.
Normally, such a rescue mission would take some planning and a couple of hours of work to safely fish it out. But this task was not a challenge, as Monroe DPW workers rolled out, for the very first time, its brand-new amphibious all-terrain vehicle, according to the statement.
Known as an Argo, the vehicle can drive into a pond or stream, where it then floats as a boat. Monroe officials purchased the $29,000 vehicle, equipped with a trailer and other accessories, through state Clean Communities grants.
“Our DPW crews work hard every day to keep Monroe Township roadways, open space, facilities and now streams and waterways in tip-top shape,” Mayor Gerald W. Tamburro said in the statement. “Through organizations like the New Jersey Clean Communities Council, we can provide the appropriate specialty tools to get the job done without using taxpayer dollars.”
Joe Slomian, the township’s recycling coordinator, said the Argo will be a centerpiece of efforts to clean up litter in approximately 15 miles of waterways, including the Manalapan Brook and the Matchaponix Brook.
“There is a huge need for more attention to be given to these waterways,” Slomian said in the statement. “That is because of an increase in litter and a bigger demand for municipalities to stay in compliance with the state’s stormwater and flooding regulations.”
Slomian said the Argo can go into deep waterways and easily floats when its tires can no longer touch the ground. The vehicle then paddles, making it easy for township workers to remove debris from local waterways, as well as log jams, according to the statement.
Monroe officials hope to install litter-catching devices at storm water outflows and repair eroded and unhealthy river banks as part of the project, he said in the statement.