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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: 6/8/01
01/
CONTACT: Loretta O'Donnell or Amy Collings
(609) 984-1795 or 292-2994

DEP ADDS NEW BEACH WATER QUALITY WEB PAGE

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has a new web page featuring ocean beach water quality information and links to county health departments and other coastal related web sites.

NJ Ocean Beach InfoThe website can be accessed either through DEP's homepage at www.state.nj.us/dep, which has an icon for Ocean Beach Information, or directly at www.NJBeaches.org.

The website lists any ocean beaches that are closed due to water quality and any special beach conditions. DEP administers a Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program with local health departments. Recreational beach water quality monitoring is performed every Monday and throughout the week as needed at 184 ocean stations.

"New Jersey has the most comprehensive ocean beach monitoring and public notification program in the country. Federal legislation last year used New Jersey as a model for initiating a national beach monitoring system. We continue to reduce the number of beach closings and are working toward a goal of zero closings," said DEP Commissioner Bob Shinn.

Since 1995, the number of closings at New Jersey beaches has remained low and no beaches have been closed due to floatable debris since 1990. Most beach closings are related to the presence of contaminated stormwater after significant rainfall.

DEP inspects stormwater collection systems and the wastewater treatment facilities that discharge to the ocean. The department also performs daily aerial surveillance of the state's nearshore coastal waters and the Hudson-Raritan estuaries.

"I hope that everyone who enjoys the state's waters this summer will share our respect and responsibility for New Jersey's tremendous natural resources," Shinn said.

The web page links to other sites include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for water temperatures, Atlantic and Monmouth county health departments, Rutgers University's Coastal Ocean Observation Laboratory and two beach cameras.

Ocean beach closing information can still be accessed through DEP's toll free number at 1-800-648-SAND (1-800-648-7263).

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