The water contamination in New Jersey continues, resulting in the closing of more beaches since Tuesday, July 25. According to the latest report, 15 beaches are now closed down, including the ones in Atlantic City and Ventnor. Authorities have also closely monitored bacteria contamination in 16 other beaches in three counties.
The first case of high-level contamination of bacteria from animal feces was reported in Hathaway Avenue beach as reported by NJ.com on Tuesday. Subsequently, the Department of Environmental Protection of New Jersey (DEP) issued the advisories for high bacteria levels in 31 beaches.
Heavy rain that outpoured New Jersey for two days has washed the polluted water into the streams, rivers, and bays. As the contaminated water flows to the sea, it also carried an extremely high concentration of Enterococcus bacteria in the water. On Tuesday, the State’s DEP has closed three beaches, namely Beachwood Beach West, Summit Beach, and West Beach. DEP spokesperson Lawrence Hajna has also confirmed that heavy rain was the cause of the contamination.
“Rainfall carries bacteria, typically from animal droppings, into stormwater collection systems that usually discharge into a body of water.”
Up to now, the state of New Jersey has issued swimming advisories for 31 beaches and closed 15 of them in Atlantic City, Monmouth County, and Ocean County. The DEP will continue to closely monitor the water quality and take water samples every day. The advisories and closing will be lifted when the concentration of Enterococcus has subsided to the safe level.
Since Monday, from the water sample taken regularly, DEP found that all beaches along Toms River have the highest concentration of Enterococcus bacteria. This type of bacteria is normally found in human and animal feces. Enterococcus are harmful bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections and large bowel inflammation. A more severe infection of Enterococcus can lead to inflammation in the inner tissues of the human heart and even meningitis.
The state’s DEP also advised the citizen to avoid conducting activities near the beaches until the contamination level diminishes. According to sanitary code in New Jersey, the safe concentration of Enterococcus in water should be less than 104 colonies per 100 milliliters of sample. But the sample from three counties, Monmouth, Ocean and Atlantic City showed a much higher concentration of the bacteria.
For the precaution, DEP also advised the municipalities to keep monitoring the pipes that discharge storm water. Normally, the animal wastes that settled in the discharge pipes are washed out into the stream during heavy rain, which caused the upsurge of harmful bacteria in the surface water. The water contamination in New Jersey is expected to die down within a few days.
[Featured Image by John Moore/Getty Images]