by LRWP Outreach Monitoring Coordinator Jocelyn Palomino
The Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County have wrapped up another year of the volunteer pathogens monitoring program!! A very special thank you to all the volunteers who came out this year and our partners who helped the program run smoothly: Frank Dahl, Irene Riegner, Colleen Georges, Rose Lawless, Sheyla Casco, Monica Orso, Piash Ahamed, Genevieve Ehasz, Nicole Fahrenfeld, Samantha Wilder, and all our friends at the Interstate Environmental Commission!
Our water quality samples taken on October 5, 2023 show Enterococcus bacteria levels exceed the EPA federal water quality standard at our three most upstream sites. However, the expected rain for this Saturday will likely affect these results. Problem sites are indicated by red frowns on the map and chart which includes: Riverside Park (Piscataway), Rutgers Boathouse (New Brunswick), and Edison Boat Basin (Edison). Green smiles on the chart and map indicate sites with bacteria levels safe for recreation and include: Ken Buchanan Waterfront Park (Sayreville), South Amboy Waterfront Park (South Amboy), and 2nd Street Park (Perth Amboy).
Enterococcus and Fecal Coliform levels are used as indicators for 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, leaking septic systems, and stormwater run off.
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. Although we are done monitoring for the year, always remember to stay safe and wash thoroughly after enjoying recreational activities on the Raritan!
Blue skies on our last day of monitoring for the 2023 season!! Photo Credit: Heather Fenyk
Our team of volunteers for the week on the docks at Edison Boat Basin: Frank, Irene, and Genevieve. Photo Credit: Heather Fenyk
It’s always great meeting folks out in the field and sharing our information with them! Photo Credits: Heather Fenyk