Raritan River Pathogens Monitoring 2021 is a wrap!
HUGE gratitude to our amazing team, all our partners, and especially our volunteers. We could not do this without: Michele Bakacs & Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Jessica Bonamusa & Interstate Environmental Commission, Priscilla Oliveria & The Watershed Institute, Jason Acevedo, Frank Dahl, Dorina Cardinale, Andrew Gehman, Janet Kenny Sacklow, Julisa Collado and extra special thanks to our wonderful Spanish language outreach coordinator Jocelyn Palomino!!
Pathogens results for our final day of sampling, Thursday September 23 are as follows:
Photos and article by LRWP Board President Heather Fenyk
The LRWP and EARTH Center of Middlesex County monitors for Fecal Coliform and Enterococcus at six non-swimming public beach access sites along the Lower Raritan during the warmer summer months. Fecal Coliform and Enterococcus are indicators of disease-causing bacteria in our waterways.
The EPA recommends that a single Enterococcus sample be less than 110 Colony Forming Units (CFU)/100mL for primary contact. 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. 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. Enterococci levels are often high after heavy or consistent rainfall.
Briefly, our Sayreville, South Amboy and Perth Amboy sites are looking good this week! Please note that these results for August 20, 2020 are preliminary and awaiting Quality Control.
Yesterday was an exquisite day for sampling the Raritan!
Summer 2020 Lower Raritan Monitoring Sites
The New Jersey state Department of Environmental Protection and Middlesex County Health Departments typically monitor at sanctioned public swimming beach sites. They do not monitor the water quality for pathogens at public access non-swimming beach sites along the Raritan, despite regular use of these areas for primary contact (fishing and swimming) by members of our urban communities.
The LRWP works with in partnership with the Interstate Environmental Commission for lab analysis of our samples. We have a Quality Assurance Protocol Plan (QAPP) approved by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. We work to report our results as soon as lab analysis is completed.