Seaside Heights bans ocean swimming for 1st time in 20 years — bacteria to blame
SEASIDE HEIGHTS — You can get a tan and walk the boardwalk, but you can't go in the ocean in Seaside Heights on Thursday.
With temperatures headed for the 90s and the humidity high, bacteria levels above the state standard for water considered safe for swimming forced the Department of Environmental Protection to close 12 beaches in Atlantic, Monmouth, and Ocean counties, including two in Seaside Heights: the Lincoln Avenue and the Sheridan Beach.
Seaside Heights Mayor Anthony Vaz decided to close them all for the day.
"This is the first time any of us can remember in more than 20 years that we have had to suspend ocean bathing due to water quality. Perplexingly, the ocean waters have been great the past few years right up to now, so this is a very unusual event that we expect to pass quickly," Vaz wrote in a statement on the borough's Facebook page.
Vaz said it will be free to get on to the beaches today, plus visitors will get a coupon for a free beach visit later in the season.
Island Beach State Park expects to fill up quickly and reach capacity because of the ban, according to a post on its Facebook page.
The mayor also said the clean water has attracted a large number of bait fish closer to the beach, which has attracted more seagulls to feed.
A beach is automatically closed after two consecutive days of results that exceed the state standard of 104 colonies per 100 milliliters per sample for Enterococci bacteria. The recent heavy rains have caused levels to spoke because of a build-up of waste from geese, seagull and other animals.
Closed beaches on Thursday:
- Brigantine City: 26th Street (bay)
- Belmar Borough Beach (river): L Street Beach
- Loch Arbour Village: Village Beach Club (ocean)
- Sea Girt Borough: The Terrace (ocean)
- Sea Girt: Beacon Boulevard (ocean)
- Spring Lake: Brown Avenue (ocean)
- Spring Lake Borough: Essex Avenue (ocean)
- Spring Lake: York Avenue (ocean)
- Pine Beach Borough: West Beach Avon Road (river)
- Pine Beach Borough: East Beach Station Avenue (river)
- Seaside Heights Borough: Lincoln Avenue (ocean)
- Seaside Heights Borough: Sheridan (ocean)
No beaches are under advisory for Thursday.
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