Friday, June 27, 2014

Testing the Waters at the Jersey Shore


Testing the Waters is a guide to water quality at vacation beaches. The state summary for New Jersey ranked our state third in beach water quality (out of 30 states. Only 3% of samples exceeded the national Beach Action Value for designated beach areas in 2013.

New Jersey has public beaches lining 127 miles of the Atlantic coast. The Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program (CCMP), which is administered by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, conducts quality monitoring from mid-May to mid-September.

You can find daily activity reports, including beach closings and advisories, at www.njbeaches.org (the CCMP website). As I write this, the Jersey shore beaches are all green lights and open.

In 2013, New Jersey reported 492 coastal beaches and beach segments, 288 of which were monitored. New Jersey also has "bracket" beaches that are adjacent to regularly monitored beaches; if high bacteria concentrations are found at a regularly monitored station, sampling is conducted at bracket stations to determine the extent of the affected area.

That 3% number means that of all reported beach monitoring samples, 3% exceeded the Beach Action Value (BAV) of 60 enterococcus bacteria colony forming units (cfu) per 100 ml marine or estuarine water in a single sample.

The 4 beaches in NJ that did exceed the rate with the highest percentages in 2013 were Berkeley Township at Beachwood Beach West in Ocean County (52%), Neptune Township at Shark River Beach and Yacht in Monmouth County (20%), Berkeley Township at West Beach Avon Road in Ocean County (18%), and Brick Township at Windward Beach in Ocean County (17%).

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