Raritan Pathogens Results for 9.15.2022

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. 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 for analysis in their laboratory, and report the results to the public on Friday afternoons. 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.

Lab results for water quality samples taken on September 15, 2022 show Enterococcus bacteria levels that exceed the EPA federal water quality standard of 104 cfu/100mL at a majority of our monitoring sites. Problem sites are indicated by red frowns on the map and chart and include Riverside Park (Piscataway), the Edison Boat Ramp (Edison), Ken Buchanan Waterfront Park (Sayreville), and 2nd St. Park (Perth Amboy). The green smiles represent sites with Enterococcus bacteria levels below the federal standard for recreation and include Rutgers Boathouse (New Brunswick) and South Amboy Waterfront Park (South Amboy).

Pathogens/Enterococci levels are used as indicators of the possible presence of disease-causing bacteria in recreational waters. 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. Such pathogens may pose health risks to people fishing and swimming in a water body. If you choose to recreate on the Raritan, please do so safely and be sure to wash thoroughly after all activities!

Many thanks to the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County and Interstate Environmental Commission for their partnership, and to our team of volunteers who came out this week! See here for more information on our pathogens monitoring program.

Welcome to the LRWP’s new Raritan Scholar intern Jonathan Kim! Volunteer Frank Dahl showed Jonathan how to fill out the data forms. Photo Credit: Andrew Gehman

Andrew Gehman multi-tasked while in the water collecting samples – YSI in one hand, camera in the other taking photos of our beach-based monitoring team! Photo Credits: Andrew Gehman

Frank returned the favor and captured Andrew in action while he held the YSI in place so we could document real-time data of the water , Photo Credits: Frank Dahl