Raritan Pathogens Results 8.10.2023

by 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.

Our water quality samples taken on August 10, 2023 show Enterococcus bacteria levels DO NOT exceed the EPA federal water quality standard at any of our sites this week. Problem sites are normally indicated by red frowns on the map and chart. Green smiles on the chart and map indicate sites with bacteria levels safe for recreation which includes: Riverside Park (Piscataway), Rutgers Boathouse (New Brunswick), Edison Boat Basin (Edison), Ken Buchanan Waterfront Park (Sayreville), South Amboy Waterfront Park (South Amboy), and 2nd Street Park (Perth 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!

A beautiful morning to be out doing some water quality monitoring! Photo Credit: Rose Lawless

Every one of our volunteers play an important role in collecting our weekly data, Photo Credit: Rose Lawless (left) and Colleen Georges (right)

A shot of the canal by the docks at the Edison Boat Basin after grabbing our samples, Photo Credits: Rose Lawless

Frank Dahl was happy to volunteer wading into our last two sites for the week, Photo Credit: Colleen Georges

Big thanks to our volunteers of the week: Frank Dahl, Rose Lawless, Sheyla Casco, Piash Ahamed, and Colleen Georges