By LRWP Monitoring Outreach 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. On Thursdays we collect water quality samples at 6 non-bathing public access beach sites along the Raritan River, provide our samples to the Interstate Environmental Commission for analysis in their laboratory, and report the results to the public on Friday afternoons. 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.
Our lab results for water quality samples taken on September 29, 2022 show that Enterococcus bacteria levels do not exceed the EPA federal water quality standard of 104 cfu/100mL at any of our sites this week! Problem sites are normally indicated by red frowns on the map and chart, but the green smiles represent sites with bacteria levels below the federal standard for recreation including: 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. 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. Such pathogens may pose health risks to people fishing and swimming in a water body. Please note: disease causing pathogens may be present in local waters even if lab results indicate levels below state or federal thresholds. If you choose to recreate on the Raritan, be safe and wash thoroughly after all activities.
Many thanks to the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County and Interstate Environmental Commission for their partnership, and to our team of volunteers who came out this week! See here for more information on our pathogens monitoring program.
Our team for this week geared up for the chilly morning we had on Thursday, Photo Credit: Andrew Gehman
While at the Rutgers Boat House, we encountered some folks who were fishing recreationally and caught some big ones as we did our sampling, Photo Credits: Frank Dahl
Volunteer Frank Dahl at the Edison Boat Basin completing a field observation datasheet to collect data on the environmental conditions and recreational activities at the time of sampling, Photo Credits: Jocelyn Palomino
Julisa Collado took charge of using our monitoring equipment this week at our sampling sites, Photo Credits: Jocelyn Palomino
At our South Amboy site, Jocelyn had to endure some strong waves to reach our weekly sampling point, Photo Credits: Julisa Collado