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Cedar Grove Swimming Hole Is Filthy And Dangerous, Neighbors Say

CEDAR GROVE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Some say a dangerous and deadly swimming hole is ruining their neighborhood in Cedar Grove, New Jersey.

As CBS2's Erin Logan reported, the neighbors say out-of-towners and teenagers have turned a once-peaceful spot into a major safety concern.

All summer long, Devil's Hole been the spot. It is calm and pretty – and lately, it has been pretty out-of-control.

"Social media has destroyed it, you know? One guy puts a video jumping," said Brian DeVaney. "This is a quiet town, and all of a sudden, you've got gangs of people coming out of nowhere."

DeVaney lives right near Devil's Hole, a ravine in the Peckman River. He said crowds are making neighbors feel unsafe.

That is not to mention all of the trash they leave behind that he ends up picking up.

"Who would want to destroy it?" DeVaney said.

And down the street, Arlene and Sam White are just as frustrated over the trash and traffic. But more than anything, they feel Devil's Hole is dangerous.

They remember two deaths since they have lived in the area, most recently in 2014.

"Unfortunately, people don't always realize how quickly it will rise, and you know, we're afraid someone will get hurt," Arlene White said.

Within minutes of checking things out, CBS2 noticed police monitoring the situation. Residents told CBS2 there are no clear rules if swimming is allowed.

"(A police officer) just said it's sewer water and they didn't want us swimming here," said Eddie Perella.

"They're swimming basically in Verona's sewer water," Sam White said.

The sewage White referred to is the usual runoff into the river that looks dirty.

Many were happy to hear this area may soon be off limits to swimmers. The township council recently agreed to rewrite an ordinance that would allow police to enforce that rule.

Others said it is upsetting that it's come to this.

"A few bad apples just ruined it," DeVaney said.

"I understand that people would think it's unsafe, but if you know what you're doing, it's not that bad," said a woman named Sarah.

DeVaney and the swimmers are hoping there will be a way to keep what they call a "hidden gem" the way it is -- minus the chaos and with some simple rules in place.

Enforcing the no swimming ordinance will be discussed at the next township council meeting on Sept. 11.

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