Cape May County’s 2019 Coastal Water Monitoring Program will officially begin on May 28 and continue through Sept. 2 to protect beach-goers and the environment from high bacteria levels.
The Cape May County Department of Health conducts the monitoring program in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
“The monitoring program reaffirms our commitment to the surveillance and protection of the public’s health, coastal environment and natural resources,” Cape May County Department of Health Director Kevin Thomas said.
A total of 61 ocean and one back bay recreational sites have been selected for weekly monitoring.
Enterococcus, a bacteria found in the feces of most animals, continues to be used as the indicator organism to assess water quality. The maximum estimated enterococcus concentration in marine waters shall not exceed 104 per 100ml of sample.
If the result of any microbiological water quality samples exceeds 104 per 100ml of sample, a swimming advisory will be posted at the bathing beach. Afterward, another sanitary survey and new samples will be taken.
If any of the new samples exceed the water quality standard, the bathing beach will be closed until resamples are again within the bathing standard. Additionally, if a sanitary survey discloses any condition that may present an imminent hazard to public health or safety, the bathing beach shall post a swimming advisory or shall be closed for bathing.
Results of water quality monitoring and status of monitored beaches are available online at www.njbeaches.org.
Algae blooms and waste water incidents such as overflows should immediately be called into the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection hotline number (877) 927-6337 and to the Cape May County Health Department at (609) 465-1209 during regular working hours Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After hours, including weekends and holidays, emergency health services can be accessed through local police departments.
Police departments are responsible for managing medical waste. Anyone who finds and/or comes in contact with medical waste should not handle or touch it but contact the local police department immediately.
All incidents of medical waste on public recreational bathing beaches shall also be reported as soon as possible to DEP at 1-877-WARN-DEP (1-877-927-6337). Exposure to medical wastes on public recreational bathing beaches, such as needle sticks, scratches, etc., must be reported immediately using the DEP hotline.
Additionally, anyone who is injured as a result of coming in contact with medical waste should consult with a physician or call the Cape May County Health Department at (609) 465-1209.
For additional information please contact the Cape May County Health Department, Division of Environmental Services, at (609) 465-1209, call the Hotline number at (609) 463-6581 or visit us on the web at www.cmchealth.net.