Beaches from Cape May County to Monmouth County are among a list of New Jersey's 10 worst for having the highest levels of bacteria, according to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Sean Gardner, Getty Images

The council compiled the list based on water testing at 288 of the state's 492 coastal beaches in 2013.

Beachwood Beach in Ocean County ranks number one as the most polluted beach in the state.  Fifty-two percent of the 31 samples tested at Beachwood Beach registered unacceptable amounts of bacteria.

In Brick Township, Windward Beach came in fourth on the list, a ranking Mayor John Ducey was disappointed to learn about.  He puts the blame for the bacteria on the use of fertilizer throughout Ocean County.

"In the winter, if you put fertilizer on frozen ground it never gets absorbed into the ground and actually just runs off into the storm drains, and eventually out into the Metedeconk River and/or the bay, and that creates a lot more problems," Ducey said.

The Brick Township Council recently discussed implementing a fertilizer ban, and Ducey hopes it will happen soon.

In most cases, raising pollution levels and stormwater runoff can be blamed for the high level of bacteria.

The 10 beaches in New Jersey with the highest levels of bacteria include:

1. Beachwood Beach, Beachwood

2. Shark River Beach and Yacht Club, Neptune Township

3. Avon Road, Pine Beach

4. Windward Beach, Brick Township

5. New Jersey Avenue Beach, Somers Point

6. 2nd Avenue and JFK Beach, North Wildwood

7. 25th Street Beach, Barnegat Light

8. 10th Avenue and JFK Beach, North Wildwood

9. Maple Beach, Wildwood

10. Surf Beach, Ocean City

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