Another pretty good week of results from our pathogen monitoring. While our downstream sites are within limits, the Piscataway site continues to give us trouble with very high enterococcus and fecal coliform TNTC or “Too Numerous To Count.” Yikes! We received .7 inch of precipitation since sampling, which likely means the pathogens count will be higher at all sites.
Enterococci results are reported in Colony Forming Units or CFUs. Suitable levels for primary contact should not exceed 104 cfu/100mL. Please note that while the numbers look good for our Edison, Sayreville, South Amboy and Perth Amboy sites, we have received significant rainfall since sampling, which typically increases bacteria loading into our waters. 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. 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.
Huge thanks to our partners: Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission.
What a beautiful day to kick off monitoring for 2021! We were joined in the field by our new Project Coordinator Jocelyn Palomino, project interns Jason Acevedo and Julisa Collado, Jessica Bonamusa from the Interstate Environmental Commission, and Stan Stephenson with the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Edison, Sayreville and South Amboy sites were busy with boating activity. Almost two dozen boat trailers were parked at the Ken Buchanan Boat Ramp in Sayreville, and we waved to folks on jet skis in the water there.
Please enjoy the Raritan safely! Be sure to wash thoroughly with soap and hot water after any contact with our waters.
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 9.26.19. 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.