New Jersey ranks high in water quality, but some beaches are a concern

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beach The Natural Resource Defense Council has determined that New Jersey has the third best beach water quality in the United States, out of the 30 states where samples were collected and tested.

However, five area beaches that were tested exceeded a new Beach Action Value threshold, which was recently issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. The new threshold is when 60 enterococcus bacteria colony-forming units are present in 100 milliliters of water in a single sample. The NRDC called the threshold, “a more protective threshold than the national allowable bacteria levels used in previous years to trigger beach advisories.”

Statewide, only 3 percent of the beach monitoring samples exceeded the BAV, according to the NRDC.

Two beaches in North Wildwood, one Wildwood, a Somers Point and an Ocean City beach had more than 10 percent of their samples exceed the threshold, the NRDC reported. 

In North Wildwood, the beach at JFK and Second Avenues had 11 percent of its 19 samples test above the BAV. At JFK and 10th, 11 percent of the 14 samples also tested above the threshold.

At Maple Avenue in Wildwood, 11 percent of the 19 samples were above the BAV.

Ocean City’s Surf Beach had 11 percent of its 19 samples test above the threshold also.

Somers Point’s New Jersey Avenue beach had 14 percent of its 21 samples test above the BAV.

Right now, the use of the BAV is optional, according to the NRDC. But, under new proposed National Beach Guidance and Required Criteria for Grant guidelines issued by the EPA, states that receive BEACH Act funding would have to use the BAV to trigger beach notifications about bacteria levels and possible closings.

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