By LRWP Monitoring Outreach Coordinator Jocelyn Palomino
The Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County are happy to announce the beginning of our Summer 2023 Pathogens Monitoring Program! We are in our 5th year of this volunteer-based program that runs from May to September every Thursday monitoring 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 lab results for water quality samples taken on May 25, 2023 show that Enterococcus bacteria levels DO NOT exceed the EPA federal water quality standard at any of our sites this week. Green smiles on the chart and map indicate sites with bacteria levels below the standard safe for recreation which includes all of sites: Riverside Park (Piscataway), Rutgers Boathouse (New Brunswick), Edison Boat Ramp and Ken Buchanan Waterfront Park (Edison), South Amboy Waterfront Park (South Amboy), and 2nd Street Park (Perth Amboy).
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. Possible 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.
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. If you choose to recreate on the Raritan, please do so safely and be sure to wash thoroughly after all activities!
While enjoying the view at the Rutgers Boathouse, we noticed a large object in the water that turned out to be an old shopping cart, Photo Credit: Colleen Georges
Colleen and Monica were glad to gear up with the waders during their first run, Photo Credits: Colleen Georges and Monica Orso
Irene Riegner helping Jocelyn Palomino record the numbers off the YSI during her first monitoring run, Photo Credits: Monica Orso
Our first day went great thanks to an amazing team, Photo Credit: Colleen Georges