CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – The county’s Coastal Water Monitoring Program begins Tuesday, May 30 and is scheduled to run through Tuesday, Sept. 5, according to a statement from Freeholder Jeffrey Pierson.

The county Health Department will work with the state Department of Environmental Protection to do weekly water quality monitoring at 61 ocean recreational sites and one on the back bay.

“The monitoring program reaffirms our commitment to the surveillance and protection of the public's health, coastal environment and natural resources,” said Kevin Thomas, the county’s director of the program.

With the monitoring, the county tests the level of enterococcus bacteria. The level of that bacteria is a good indicator of possible contamination, according to the statement. The bacteria come from debris in the streets, including dog and bird waste, and can come from human waste as well.

The maximum estimated enterococcus bacteria in marine waters can’t exceed 104 per 100ml of sample. If it does, the beach must post a swimming advisory or possibly close the site. Two consecutive bacteria counts of 104 per 100ml will close the site.

Algae blooms and waste water incidents such as overflows should be reported to the DEP hotline at 877-927-6337 and to the Cape May County Health Department at 609-465-1209 Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 4:30 p.m.

After hours, call local police.

Police are responsible for managing medical waste. Incidents of medical waste on public recreational bathing beaches should be reported as soon as possible to the DEP at 877- 927-6337. Exposure to medical wastes on public recreational bathing beaches, such as needle sticks, scratches, et cetera, must be reported immediately using the DEP Hotline.

For more information, call 609-465-1209, the hotline at 609-463-6581 or see www.cmchealth.net.

Middle Township Gazette reporter. Call me anytime you have news for the paper or the website. 609-365-6176