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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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NYDEP - North River Wastewater Treatment Plant - Plant Bypass 7/20/11 NJDEP Monitoring Results

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureaus of Marine Water Monitoring, Emergency Response, and Water Compliance and Enforcement have been monitoring the waters of the New York Harbor and Hudson River to assess the impact of the New York City raw sewage discharge on New Jersey’s water quality, shellfish beds and recreational bathing beaches.

View of OceanMonitoring results and visual observations support the Department’s position that there should be no recreational contact such as swimming, kayaking or jet skiing, or fishing or crabbing in the Hudson River and Upper New York Bay north of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Monitoring results also indicate that New Jersey shellfish beds in Raritan Bay and along Sandy Hook have not been affected and remain open for clamming.  New Jersey’s recreational bathing beaches on the Raritan Bayshore, Sandy Hook and south have also not been affected and remain open at this time.  The Department reminds the public that swimming is only allowed at bathing beaches with lifeguards on duty.

Below is an interactive map which displays monitoring locations and results.  Water was tested for the presence of pathogens which are an indicator of raw sewage.  Water was analyzed for fecal coliform bacteria on 7/21/11 and fecal coliform and Entroccocus bacteria on 7/22 and 7/23/11.

The recreational bathing standard for Enterococcus is 104 cfu/100ml. The recreational bathing standard (fresh water) for Fecal Coliform is 200 cfu/100ml.

In waters with Enterococcus bacteria levels above the 104 standard, epidemiological studies have found higher risks of illness, including upper respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders.  Those most a risk includes the young, elderly and those with compromised immune symptoms.

It should be noted that the NY/NJ Harbor and Hudson River are significantly impacted by tidal flow.  This pollutant plume impacts areas south of the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant more significantly during outgoing and low tide stages and areas north of the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant during incoming tides and high tide stages..  Some sampling stations may appear to be getting better and then worse, however this is the impact of the tidal flows within the harbor.

It should also be noted that a sewage spill is much different than an oil spill.  A sewage spill cannot be “cleaned up”.  Rather, a sewage spill will diminish as it breaks down and degrades as naturally occurring bacteria feed on the material.  Mixing of the water column will also help to diminish the effects of the spill.  Some floatables (trash) may appear on the water surface and could wash up on shore.  If you see heavy concentrations of floatable debris,  please report it to 877-WARNDEP.  The Department will work with County and Local health officials to remove these items from the shoreline.

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Last Updated: May 21, 2014