No water quality concerns at N.J. beaches as holiday weekend begins

South Seaside Park in August 2017. (Justin Auciello for WHYY)

South Seaside Park in August 2017. (Justin Auciello for WHYY)

The water quality at all New Jersey beaches is acceptable for swimming as the long holiday weekend begins.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection monitors bacteria levels at 209 bay, river, and ocean beaches at the Jersey Shore and issues advisories one day following an unacceptable bacteria level.

Since monitoring began in late May, 99.9% of beach days were open for bathing, according to the state’s But there have been some swimming advisories and beach closures this summer.

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.

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Some waterways are typically susceptible to higher bacteria levels after rainfall and associated storm runoff. Onshore flow also pushes in offshore water and keeps near-shore water from flowing adequately out to sea.

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.

In recent days, reports from the state’s nearly daily coastal surveillance flights indicated “good” conditions along the entire coastline. Earlier this week, a report indicated dolphins off Long Branch, skates off Island Beach State Park, and bait fish along the entire coast.

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