By LRWP Monitoring Outreach Coordinator Jocelyn Palomino
The Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County run a volunteer pathogens monitoring program from May to September every summer along the Raritan River. We collect water quality samples at non-bathing public access beach sites, provide our samples to the Interstate Environmental Commission for analysis in their laboratory, and report the results to the public on Friday afternoons.
Our lab results for water quality samples taken on June 1, 2023 show that Enterococcus bacteria levels DO NOT exceed the EPA federal water quality standard at any of our sites this week. Green smiles on the chart and map indicate sites with bacteria levels below the standard safe for recreation which includes all of our sites: Riverside Park (Piscataway), Rutgers Boathouse (New Brunswick), Edison Boat Ramp and Ken Buchanan Waterfront Park (Edison), South Amboy Waterfront Park (South Amboy), and 2nd Street Park (Perth Amboy).
Pathogens/Enterococci levels are used as indicators of the possible presence of disease-causing bacteria in recreational waters. Such pathogens may pose health risks to people fishing and swimming in a water body. Possible 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.
Our goal in reporting these results is to give area residents an understanding of potential health risks related to primary contact (touching) the water during water based recreation. If you choose to recreate on the Raritan, please do so safely and be sure to wash thoroughly after all activities!
Frank Dahl and Sheyla Casco at Riverside Park ready to take on the day, Photo Credit: Colleen Georges
This week’s team lined up at the Rutgers Boat dock with a beautiful view behind us, Photo Credit: Colleen Georges
Rose Lawless captured a great image of the team from the docks at our Sayreville site, Photo Credit: Rose Lawless
The team giving Sheyla some safety tips for her first-time wading at our South Amboy site, Photo Credit: Rose Lawless
Sheyla enjoyed the water so much she decided to keep on the waders for our next site, Photo Credit: Rose Lawless