With thanks to Jessica Bonamusa with the Interstate Environmental Commission (IEC), which provides equipment, laboratory equipment, and other technical support to the LRWP as part of an EPA Volunteer Pathogen Monitoring Program, the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership is pleased to share this Final Report for 2020 pathogens monitoring of the Lower Main Stem of the Raritan River.
IEC’s Volunteer Pathogen Monitoring Program is intended to facilitate interested organizations in testing their local waterways for pathogens. This program targets areas that are not routinely monitored by regulatory agencies or other established monitoring programs. IEC provides assistance to volunteer groups in project design, sampling site selection, as well as hands-on field sampling training, supplies and equipment, and QA/QC oversight for the project. Laboratory analyses for pathogens is conducted in the IEC laboratory by IEC staff. Participating organizations and volunteers sample along publicly-accessible shoreline areas and in tidal creeks. Surveys include in situ measurements of water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and pH, though these parameters can vary depending on the needs of IEC’s partners. Pathogen samples are taken to the IEC laboratory where they are analyzed for Enteroccoccus and Fecal Coliform, indicators of sewage waste, using membrane filtration (EPA 1600) and/or the newer IDEXX® Enterolert methods. All sampling and analytical procedures are outlined in an EPA-approved Quality Assurance Project Plan.
In 2020, the LRWP’s Volunteer Monitoring Program spanned 15 weeks, starting in July. Due to the pandemic, this year the Program faced unprecedented challenges. The IEC laboratory was closed for the first three weeks of sampling, so samples collected during this time period were analyzed by a contract laboratory using methods which, while EPA-certified, differed from the methodology utilized by IEC. All sampling events were scheduled in advance and occurred regardless of recent precipitation, unless conditions were dangerous. This season included four groups: Hackensack Riverkeeper, the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership, Gowanus Conservancy and Freshkills Park for a total of 14 sites. Six of these sites are within the Lower Raritan Watershed.
Raritan River Enterococci results for 8.15.2019, for six non-swimming beach public access sites. Enterococci results are reported in Colony Forming Units or CFUs. Suitable levels for enterococci should not exceed 104cfu/100mL.
**Please note: these results are preliminary and awaiting Quality Control.**
Many thanks to our great team of volunteers who dedicated their Thursday to sampling for fecal coliform and enterococci at six non-swimming beach public access sites along the Raritan River.
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.
Enterococci results are reported in Colony Forming Units or CFUs. Enterococci results are reported in Colony Forming Units or CFUs. Suitable levels should not exceed 104 cfu/100mL.
Riverside Park (40.54067, -74.51219)
Rutgers Boathouse (40.48826, -74.43384)
Edison Boathouse (40.48769, -74.38409)
Ken Buchannan Waterfront Park(40.47483, -74.35586)
Volunteers will help project coordinators with sample collection, sample preparation and delivery, and analysis.
Directions to the EARTH Center-
We are located at 42 Riva Ave. in South Brunswick (note our mailing address says North Brunswick but you should use South Brunswick for your GPS). We are located in Davidson Mill Pond Park. When you come into the park follow the road around to the right and then go through the gate. Ignore the sign that says authorized vehicles only. Our building is down the road on the right with the green roof. Parking is right in front of the building. It’s a small place so you will find the room very easily. It’s right when you walk in.
South of New Jersey Turnpike Exit 8A – Cranbury/Jamesburg
Take Exit 8A towards Cranbury. Keep right, follow signs for Cranbury South Brunswick. Take Stults Road to US-130 North and make a right on US-130. In 4 miles make a right onto Old Georges Road and turn right onto Riva Ave. The EARTH Center will be on your right.
North of New Jersey Turnpike Exit 9 – New Brunswick
Turn off at Exit 9 (New Brunswick) and keep right towards Route 18 North. Use the right lane to merge onto US-1 S via the ramp to Trenton/Princeton. Use the right 2 lanes to take the US-130 S ramp to Camden. In 2 miles make a left onto Davidson Mill Rd. and turn right onto Riva Ave. The entrance to Davidson Mill Pond park and the EARTH Center will be on your left.
From Route 1, North of New Brunswick
Follow directions above from Route 1 on.
From Route 1, South of South Brunswick
Take Route 1 North. Turn Right onto Deans lane. Turn right onto Deans Lane. Turn left onto Georges Road. Continue straight onto Distribution Way for 0.4 miles. Distribution Way turns slightly right and becomes Old Georges Road. Turn right onto Riva Ave and The EARTH Center will be on your right.