Raritan Pathogens Results 6.29.2023

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 29, 2023 show Enterococcus bacteria levels exceed 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 (Edison), Ken Buchanan Waterfront Park (Sayreville),and 2nd Street Park (Perth Amboy). Green smiles on the chart and map indicate sites with bacteria levels safe for recreation and includes: 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 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. Please remember to always wash thoroughly after all activities if you choose to recreate on the Raritan!

Every week, we look forward to our Thursday mornings of monitoring! Photo Credit: Jocelyn Palomino

Many people were out recreating on the Raritan after a long week of rain, Photo Credit: Jocelyn Palomino

Our volunteers work diligently on completing tasks at each of our sites, Photo Credit: Jocelyn Palomino

We arrived at Perth Amboy site right at the low tide, which allowed us to get a clear view of the combined sewer outfall on 2nd. Street, Photo Credit: Jocelyn Palomino

As always, big thanks to our team of volunteers for the week: Genevieve Ehasz, Colleen Georges, Sheyla Casco, and Frank Dahl, Photo Credit: Jocelyn Palomino