The state Department of Environmental Protection is investigating and a spokesman says the results are so unexpected that experts there believe the elevated counts are likely an anomaly. A second round of test samples were collected and those results will be made public soon.
Tests and the Bacteria Effects
Every week, the state tests nearly every public beach for enterococcus, a bacteria that grows inside the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals and can be found alongside their feces. This kind of bacteria is considered a warning sign of dangerous pathogens.
The standard for safe swimming is less than 104 colony forming units, or cfu, per 100 milliliters of water.
Type of Pollution and Which Beaches Are In Question
Swallowing any contaminated water could result in cramps and diarrhea from gastrointestinal illnesses, according to the National Institutes of Health.
The beaches that are open, but under a water quality advisory are:
- Ocean Grove, Spray Avenue, 120 cfu
- Surf City, North 10th Street, 130 cfu
- Ship Bottom, South 3rd Street, 110 cfu
- Ship Bottom, 14th Street, 200 cfu
- Long Beach Township, Stockton Avenue, 140 cfu
- Beach Haven, Taylor Avenue, 240 cfu
- Beach Haven, Leeward Street, 160 cfu
- Long Beach Township, Joan Road, 140 cfu
- Somers Point, New Jersey Avenue, 130 cfu
- Wildwood, Bennett Avenue, 120 cfu
All the sampling locations that tested high are oceanfront beaches, which is unusual. Typically, bay and river beaches are more likely to "fail" the DEP's routine testing, according to state data.
It's possible that a coastal storm headed toward the Carolinas is influencing the results. For instance, the storm could be driving the surf up higher on the beach, allowing the beach water to contact more animal waste than typical.
Last week, six public beaches were discovered to be unfit for swimming, although all remained open after bacteria counts subsided on follow-up tests. That spike ruined a streak of two straight weeks without any advisories or closures.
Bacteria levels often spike after rainfalls — especially so after heavy or prolonged periods of precipitation — because storm runoff will carry fecal matter from animals off the land and into the streams and rivers, which then feed into the bays and ocean.
There was no appreciable rain in Ocean County during the weekend or Monday morning, according to data maintained by NJweather.org.
Every Tuesday afternoon, the Asbury Park Press will report online to you about bacteria testing performed on water near any Shore beach with lifeguards.
Why is this continuing to happen? Is there any effective solution to pollution? Is the bacteria advisory late? Let us know your thoughts on the bacteria case and the LBI beaches.
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