Raritan Pathogens Results 6.27.2024

Every Thursday during the summer, from May to October, the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County run a volunteer-based monitoring program along the Raritan River. 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 Thursday June 27, 2024 show Enterococcus bacteria levels exceeding the EPA federal water quality standard of 104 cfu/100mL at FIVE of our monitoring sites this week. Problem sites are indicated by red frowns on the map and chart which includes: Riverside Park (Piscataway), Rutgers Boathouse (New Brunswick) , Edison Boat Basin and Ken Buchanan Waterfront Park (Sayreville), and 2nd Street Park (Perth Amboy). Green smiles on the chart and map indicate the sites with bacteria levels safe for recreation, and include the following:, 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!

Long-time volunteer Frank Dahl showing first-time water quality volunteer Art Allgauer the ropes on conducting a visual habitat assessment at our monitoring sites, Photo Credit: Jocelyn Palomino

This year, we implemented a new role for volunteers to perform “mini clean-ups” of our sites while the rest of team collects samples and field data, it gives us an opportunity to leave our sites a little cleaner each week, Photo Credit: Jocelyn Palomino

We were also joined by our friends from Sewa International Central Jersey Chapter who were a great contribution to catching our samples for the week: Shely Dash, Thulasi Nambiar and Sanil Nambiar!

Water quality monitoring is indeed a team effort- big thanks to all our volunteers this week for coming out to do their part for the benefit of the community and environment!! Photo Credit: Frank Dahl (left) and Jocelyn Palomino (right)