Following Beach Closures Up North, How Clean is South Jersey’s Ocean Water?
Earlier this week, two Ocean County beaches were under advisories after officials found high levels of bacteria in the water, not to mention medical waste washed ashore, too. With that in mind, how clean is the water in South Jersey?
The good news: it really couldn't be any better.
The NJ DEP tests the water at over 200 ocean and fresh water locations at least once per week. The maximum level is 104 colonies of Enterococci bacteria per 100 milliliters of sample; a beach is closed after two consecutive days of tests that exceed that limit.
In South Jersey, the most recent test results posted to the DEP's website show that not only are there no beach closures reported, there are no advisories, and nearly every testing location has bacteria levels in the single-digits -- some as low as two.
In a casual sampling of testing data from locations in Atlantic and Cape May Counties, the highest values we saw were 16 off of some North Wildwood beaches, but, again, officials don't sound any alarms until that number reaches 104.
As for the beaches farther north that had issues a few days ago, there are no longer any problems there. Five beaches in Ocean County that were closed Wednesday after needles washed-up in Brick reopened today.
If you'll be enjoying a hot and humid summertime day down the shore today, the ocean water temperature at Steel Pier in Atlantic City this morning was 72 degrees. The UV index is at 9, which is rather high, and there is a low risk of rip currents -- but, as always, only swim near a lifeguard and only when they are on-duty.
More information on ocean water testing can be found from the Atlantic County Division of Health.