Fecal bacteria leads to swimming advisories at six N.J. beaches

Waves breaking along a Jersey Shore beach.

Waves breaking along a Jersey Shore beach. (Justin Auciello for WHYY)

Update: As of Wednesday afternoon, the advisories are no longer in effect. 

Six New Jersey beaches are under swimming advisories issued Tuesday afternoon due to exceeding the allowable bacteria threshold, state officials said.

According to the state Department of Environmental Protection’s njbeaches.org, the advisories are posted at the following ocean beaches, all in Cape May County:

  • 76th Street in Avalon
  • Grant Street in Cape May City
  • Richmond Avenue in Lower Township
  • 40th Street in Sea Isle City
  • 59th Street in Sea Isle City
  • Hollywood Avenue in Wildwood Crest

The standard for the acceptable level of enterococcus, a bacteria found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals that can cause urinary tract infections, bacteremia, bacterial endocarditis, diverticulitis, and meningitis, is 104 colonies per 100 ml of water.

Some waterways are typically susceptible to higher bacteria levels after rainfall and associated storm runoff. The state tests water quality at 222 ocean, bay, and river beaches weekly and issues advisories one day following an unacceptable bacteria level.

Beaches are closed if two consecutive samples collected at a bathing beach exceed the state standard and remain in effect until subsequent sampling indicates bacteria levels are again below the standard, according to the DEP.

State data indicates that the vast majority of swimming advisories are discontinued after retesting, and beaches are very rarely closed.

You can check water quality at your local beaches here.

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