LRWP Outreach Monitoring 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.
With a continuation of rainfall this week, our water quality samples taken on July 27, 2023 show Enterococcus bacteria levels exceed the EPA federal water quality standard at four of our sites. Problem sites are indicated by red frowns on the map and chart which includes: Riverside Park (Piscataway), Rutgers Boathouse (New Brunswick), 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: Edison Boat Basin (Edison), and South Amboy Waterfront Park (South Amboy).
Enterococcus and Fecal Coliform levels are used as indicators for the possible presence of disease-causing bacteria in recreational waters. Many beaches and rivers have placed health advisories, and even closed, due to the high levels of fecal coliform in the waters across New Jersey these past few weeks. 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, leaking septic systems, and stormwater run off.
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. Always remember to wash thoroughly after enjoying your weekend activities on the Raritan!
While collecting samples at Rutgers Boathouse, we had a few visitors who were not afraid to approach us! Photo Credit: Colleen Georges
A great view of our team of volunteers on the dock at Edison Boat Basin, Photo Credit: Rose Lawless
Frank Dahl and Irene Riegner are always ready to help gear up at our wading site in South Amboy, Photo Credit: Sheyla Casco
Foamy waters at Perth Amboy’s 2nd. Street Park, Photo Credit: Rose Lawless
Thanks to our committed team of volunteers for coming out this week during the intense heat: Frank Dahl, Rose Lawless, Piash Ahamed, Sheyla Casco, Irene Riegner, and Colleen Georges! Photo Credit: Colleen Georges