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Water Quality At Jersey Beaches Not So Good, Report Says [AUDIO]

Here’s the last thing you’ll wanna read about while we’re smack-dab in the middle of summer: New Jersey’s beaches continue to slip when it comes to the water quality, according to a recent report from the National Resources Defense Council.

ocean in Long Branch
Ocean in Long Branch, NJ (Townsquare Media)

It has some environmentalists sounding the alarm, hoping that the state takes some action.

The good news? The water quality is tested both statewide and on a local level at least once a week during the season. The recent list shows Jersey seventh in the nation. It had been at number four a mere year ago.

Why the three-notch change? Higher than normal levels of fecal coli-form bacteria in the water has led to beach closures in the past.

Last August, there was two days of rain that brought some of the levels up.

“It certainly appears to be interesting because after the rain cleared out, the bacteria levels dropped. It was an isolated incident but happens quite frequently during the warm weather,” Dr. Heather Saffert with Clean Ocean Action says.

During the past few years, there has been an increase in storm water runoff, overall pollution, animal waste improperly being disposed of and over-development. Saffert feels each of these things can be contributing factors.

“Everyone should always clean up after their pets and heed any warnings about beach closures when they are posted. It’s not a suggestion, it’s a requirement. If you go in water that’s contaminated, you could end up getting sick with stomach or respiratory ailments and in some cases, skin infections.”

Pollution or the threat of contamination prompted more than 1,800 beach closings or advisories along the coasts of New Jersey and New York in 2012.

That’s according to the 23rd Annual Beach Quality Report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The report also shows that more Garden State beaches were closed in 2012 than the year before.

For more information, visit the National Resources Defense Council website.

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