Raritan Pathogens Results 6.13.2024

By LRWP Monitoring Outreach Coordinator Jocelyn Palomino

During the summer, the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County run a volunteer-based monitoring program along the Raritan river that takes place every Thursday, from May to October. We collect water quality samples at SIX 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 mission is to share this data with the community and partners to ensure the safe use of the Raritan river for all.

Our lab results for water quality samples taken on June 13, 2024 show Enterococcus bacteria levels exceeding the EPA federal water quality standard of 104 cfu/100mL at only one of our monitoring sites this week. Problem sites are indicated by red frowns on the map and chart which includes: 2nd Street Park (Perth Amboy). Green smiles on the chart and map indicate the sites with bacteria levels safe for recreation and include: Riverside Park (Piscataway), Rutgers Boathouse (New Brunswick) , Edison Boat Basin and Ken Buchanan Waterfront Park (Edison), 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. Such pathogens may pose health risks to people coming in primary contact with the water (touching) through recreational activities like fishing, kayaking or 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 residents a better understanding of the potential health risks related to primary contact during water-based recreation. If you are planning on recreating on the Raritan this weekend, make sure to stay safe and wash up after any activities!

A large flow of debris, geese poop and trash in the waters at the Rutgers Boathouse docks, Photo Credit: Rose Lawless

An osprey nest at Ken Buchanan Waterfront Park we have observed over the years, only a fraction of the abundant wildlife out on the Raritan! Photo Credit: Rose Lawless

Sofi Grossman threw the waders on for the first time in South Amboy Waterfront Park, thank you Sofi!! Photo Credit: Rose Lawless

Jocelyn Palomino and Sofi Grossman collecting data for the weekend at 2nd. Street Park with the Perth Amboy Carnival in the back, be sure to stay safe by the water! Photo Credit: Rose Lawless