Making Mealtime Meaningful: Discover how we're giving back with the 12T Cares program →

In most cases, pollution and people dumping items is something that grabs our attention for very negative reasons. In the case of pollution in Old Bridge, New Jersey, it got people wondering.

A river that runs through the area was the site of a strange occurrence and many people in the area wondered how it could’ve happened. It seems as if somebody had dumped 500 pounds of spaghetti, alphabet pasta, and pasta elbows along the river.

Photo: Facebook/Nina Jochnowitz for Old Bridge

When a public official in the area, Nina Jochnowitz posted the pictures on Facebook, the story went viral.

Someone had alerted Jochnowitz to the strange occurrence and she went to take some pictures. She then sent them to the mayor’s office, which sent a crew to clean up the pasta dump.

That still left a lot of questions about why it happened and who could’ve dumped so much pasta in the area. People started formulating some theories, but there were still a lot of questions circulating on Reddit and elsewhere on social media.

Photo: Facebook/Nina Jochnowitz for Old Bridge

Some of the ideas of why it happened ranged from a restaurant dumping the food after a catered event or someone leaving it behind as an offering for the cast of Jersey Shore.

Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait long for the mystery to be solved. A local news station had talked to a neighbor of the area, Keith Rost, who said he knew exactly who left the pasta by the river.

There was a house in the area for sale that was being cleared out by a military veteran. His mother had passed away and she had a stockpile of food, which he dumped in the woods.

Photo: Facebook/Nina Jochnowitz for Old Bridge

He felt that the stockpile of food was probably due to COVID, but he also said that his grandparents had a cupboard full of cans and pasta, “just to be safe.”

In the pictures, it looks like the pasta is cooked but, more than likely, it was dumped in the woods dry and took on that look after some rainfall.

Many are happy that the mystery is now solved, but local residents are just happy that it got cleaned up before the flies and maggots moved in.