The Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County run a volunteer pathogens monitoring program from May to September every Summer. On Thursdays we collect water quality samples at 6 non-bathing public access beach sites along the Raritan River, provide our samples to the Interstate Environmental Commission lab for analysis, and report the results for the public on Friday afternoons.
Our pathogen results for August 25, 2022 show that our three most upstream exceed federal water quality standard for recreation, represented by the red frowns on the map and chart: Riverside Park (Piscataway), Rutgers Boathouse (New Brunswick) and the Edison Boat Launch (Edison) all sampled with high Enterococcus levels. The “green smileys” for the downstream sites indicate that Enterococcus bacteria levels are below the EPA federal standard for recreation.
As always, if you do choose to recreate on the water take proper precautions and be sure to wash hands and any body parts that came in contact with the water.
Suitable levels for primary contact should not exceed 104 cfu/100mL. Per the EPA’s federal water quality standard for CFU primary contact, Pathogens/Enterococci levels are used as indicators of the possible presence of disease-causing bacteria in recreational waters. Sources of bacteria include Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), improperly functioning wastewater treatment plants, stormwater runoff, leaking septic systems, animal carcasses, and runoff from manure storage areas. Such pathogens may pose health risks to people fishing and swimming in a water body.
Big thanks to the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County and the Interstate Environmental Commission for their partnership, and to our monitoring volunteers that came out this week! See here for more information on our pathogens monitoring program.