DefinitionNumber of ocean and tidal water beach closings due to elevated bacteriological levels.
NumeratorNumber of ocean and tidal water beach closings due to elevated bacteriological levels.
Why Is This Important?Swimming in or contact with polluted water can cause gastrointestinal, respiratory, eye and ear, and flu-like symptoms. These symptoms are minor most of the time, but can occasionally be more serious, especially in sensitive populations, such as in children and elderly. New Jersey's beach monitoring program assesses coastal water quality and pollution. Local agencies monitor the concentration of bacteria in coastal waters. Samples that are above the water quality standard indicate water that presents an increased risk of illness and may result in beach closings to protect public health. Closings may also be issued as a precaution, especially where contaminated storm water runoff may impact water quality at the bathing beach following heavy rainfall.
Other Objectives'''Healthy New Jersey 2020 Objective EH-5''': Reduce the annual number of beach closings due to elevated bacteriological levels to 30.
How Are We Doing?The annual number of beach closings has varied greatly year to year. In 2020, the annual number of ocean, bay, and river beach closings due to bacteria was 26.
What Is Being Done?The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) administers the Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program (CCMP) with the New Jersey Department of Health and local environmental health agencies. Water quality monitoring and aerial surveillance of bathing beaches begins in mid-May and runs through Labor Day. Each week during the summer season, water samples are collected at 188 ocean, 20 bay, and 9 river monitoring stations along the coast of New Jersey. Samples are analyzed for the presence of Enterococci, a type of bacteria found in animal and human waste. An exceedance of the State Sanitary Code standard, 104 Enterococci/100 mL, may be harmful to human health. If two consecutive samples exceed the standard, the bathing beach closes until sample results are below the standard.
Sampling is always performed in conjunction with a sanitary survey, which includes identifying possible pollution sources, such as storm water. DEP is working with the county and local governments to track down and address these sources.
Also as part of the CCMP, DEP routinely inspects the 17 wastewater treatment facilities that discharge to New Jersey near shore coastal waters and estuaries to observe changing coastal water quality conditions and potential pollution sources.
Health Program InformationUp-to-date New Jersey beach monitoring results (data, reports, fact sheets, and coastal flight video) can be viewed at
[https://www.njbeaches.org] or by calling 1-800-648-SAND.