Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How's YOUR beach? NRDC releases "Testing the Waters"

Wanna go for a swim?

How's YOUR beach? NRDC releases "Testing the Waters"

A boogie board rider tries to take a wave straight to the end at the beach near Avalon Borough Park. An NRDC report identified the Avalon Beach at 40th Street as among those with the fewest water quality problems in the state.
A boogie board rider tries to take a wave straight to the end at the beach near Avalon Borough Park. An NRDC report identified the Avalon Beach at 40th Street as among those with the fewest water quality problems in the state. MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer

Wanna go for a swim?

Seven New Jersey beaches are among 35 “superstar” beaches ntionwide — those with consistently excellent water quality — in the 24th annual ranking by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The national environmental group also flagged 17 “repeat offender” beaches — including one in New Jersey — that appear to have chronic water pollution problems.

Overall, New Jersey ranked third among 30 states for the water quality of its beaches, according to the results for 2013.

More coverage

But that was just among the beaches where the water was actually sampled regularly. The NRDC’s report, “Testing the Waters,” found that 276 beaches — or 56 percent — in New Jersey were not monitored or had a limited number of samples.

Those identified as New Jersey’s finest:

  • Washington (Margate) in Atlantic County
  • 40th St. (Avalon) in Cape May County
  • 40th St. (Sea Isle City) in Cape May County
  • Stone Harbor at 96th St. in Cape May County
  • Upper Township at Webster Rd. in Cape May County
  • Wildwood Crest at Orchid in Cape May County
  • Broadway (Pt. Pleasant Beach) in Ocean County

The repeat offender:

  • Beachwood Beach on Toms River in Ocean County

At Beachwood, as well as nearby West Beachwood Beach West, about half of water samples exceeded federal safety thresholds, the report found.

The poor water quality at these beaches prompted a 2001 DEP report, which you can find here.

The DEP report said tests showed stormwater discharging from outfall pipes inteo the river were a source of “significant amounts of pollutants.”

Likewise, the NRDC blamed stormwater runoff and sewage overflows for water quality problems at many beaches.

The NRDC report includes a cliackable map of nearly 3,500 beaches nationwide that is searchable by zip code.

 

Inquirer GreenSpace Columnist
About this blog

GreenSpace is about environmental issues and green living. Bauers also writes a biweekly GreenSpace column about environmental health issues for the Inquirer’s Sunday “Health” section.

Sandy Bauers is the environment reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she has worked for more than 20 years as a reporter and editor. She lives in northern Chester County with her husband, two cats, a large vegetable garden and a flock of pet chickens.

Reach Sandy at sbauers@phillynews.com.

Sandy Bauers Inquirer GreenSpace Columnist
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