From left, Fred Caspar, Chip Laux and Tom Robinson look at the slimy water that pools in the gutter in front of their homes on 38th Street.


Fred Caspar pointed at a stream of fetid water that ran along the gutter in front of his house at 137 E. 38th Street.

“It’s there every day. It’s like green slime that sits in the street unless we shovel it out,” he said in disgust.

In addition to the nauseating green tint, the water also has an oily sheen and a stinky odor that suggests it has an unpleasant origin somewhere in Sea Isle City.

“When it gets hot, you can smell it,” Caspar said.

But the source of the water remains a mystery to Caspar and his neighbors on 38th Street, on the block between Landis and Central avenues. All they know is that it appears in front of their homes every day, even when it’s hot and sunny.

“It’s just nasty. You don’t want to step in it,” said Tom Robinson, who lives at 129 38th Street. “I’ve been telling my grandkids, don’t step in it.”

Robinson is a relative newcomer to the slimy water mystery. He moved into his house in May. He is thinking of hiring a company to test the water to find out whether it is hazardous.

One unsubstantiated rumor going around the neighborhood is that there may be abandoned railroad tracks buried underneath this section of 38th Street, Robinson said. Old railroad ties coated in creosote could explain why the water has an oily sheen, he noted.

“It’s hearsay. There’s no proof of that,” Robinson said of speculation about old railroad tracks underneath the street.

There are different theories to possibly explain the source of the water, but no one knows for sure.

Chip Laux, who has been living at 125 38th Street since 2019, said he is growing frustrated with the stagnant water. He said he spoke to his home builder, but was told that the water is “the city’s problem.”

“I’ve been upset,” Laux said. “The water has been here since we moved in.”

Hoping to find some answers, Caspar appeared at the City Council meeting on Tuesday to ask Sea Isle officials for help in getting rid of the water.

“You can drive by and it’s there all of the time,” he told the Council members during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Council President Jack Gibson and City Business Administrator George Savastano assured Caspar that the city will investigate the source of the water.

Caspar, who has lived on 38th Street since 2009, said one theory is that the water possibly comes from an underground stream.

He said the water started to appear about two or three years ago after an old house dating to the early 1900s was demolished on 38th Street and replaced with two single-family homes.

“They tore down the old home and now there’s the green slime,” Caspar said.

At one point last year, the neighbors became so frustrated that they had a street cleaner come by to remove the foul water.

But it is back – and is there every day.