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 beaches 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. Water quality results for September 8, 2022 for two of our sites suggest exceedance of federal EPA threshold for Enterococci at two of our sites: Riverside Park (Piscataway) and Edison Boathouse (Edison). This is indicated by the red frowns on the map – primary contact with waters at these locations is not recommended. The “green smileys” represent the sites with pathogen levels that are below the standard for primary contact recreation: Rutgers Boathouse (New Brunswick), Ken Buchanan Waterfront Park (Edison), South Amboy Waterfront Park (South Amboy), and 2nd St. Park (Perth Amboy).
Suitable levels for primary contact should not exceed 104 cfu/100mL. Per the EPA, 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 ps, 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. As always, if you choose to recreate on the Raritan this weekend, stay safe and please be sure to wash your hands!
Big thanks to our partners, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County and Interstate
Environmental Commission, and to our great group of volunteers! See here for more information on our pathogens monitoring program.
A great picture of Cristian Sanlatte from Fahrenfeld Lab and Michele Bakacs from Rutgers Cooperative Extension monitoring the beautiful Riverside Park, Photo Credit: Andrew Gehman
Andrew Gehman and our crew posing at the Ken Buchanan Waterfront Park , Photo Credits: Michele Bakacs
While our crew finished the post-calibration of the monitoring equipment before handing off the samples. Raritan Riverkeeper Bill Schultz pulled up to chat with the team , Photo Credits: Andrew Gehman