By the Numbers: Beach Water Quality in New Jersey

Tom Johnson | June 27, 2013 | Energy & Environment
Annual report from the Natural Resources Defense Council for 2012 details best and worst NJ beaches

245: Closing and advisory days for New Jersey beaches last year, up 87 percent from 131 in 2011. A big factor in the jump was Long Beach Island’s health officer closing 103 beaches for one day due to floating debris.

4 percent: New Jersey beach water samples violating national health standards in 2012, a small bump from 3 percent the previous year. At 7 percent, Ocean County had the highest number of failures; Cape May was the lowest with only 2 percent. Atlantic and Monmouth counties tied with 3 percent failed samples.

25 percent: Total number of samples in violation of national standards at Beachwood Beach in Ocean County since the National Resources Defense Council began monitoring water quality in 2005. Last year, Beachwood racked up the highest number of violations in the state at 35 percent.

69 percent: Preemptive beach closings last year. The good news: no extended or permanent beach closings occurred in 2012.

5 billion gallons: Untreated and partially treated sewage that spilled into New Jersey’s waterways after Hurricane Sandy damaged wastewater treatment plants.

3 billion gallons: Partially treated sewage that the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission dumped into waterways in the two weeks following the storm. An additional 800 million gallons of raw sewage flowed into waterways from the plant after the storm, the largest sewage spill regionwide, according to the NRDC.

$2.7 billion: Estimated cost of what it will take to repair wastewater and drinking water facilities damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The federal government has committed $229 million to make those improvements. The state is allocating another $30 million to help leverage that money to make loans to the facilities.

10: The number of beaches in New Jersey achieving a 4-star rating from the NRDC, the second-highest ranking given to beaches for water quality and best practices for testing and public notification. The award winners included the 7th Avenue beach in Belmar; Broadway Beach in Point Pleasant; 15th St. South in Brigantine; Chelsea beach in Atlantic City; and Washington in Margate Township. Five beaches in Cape May County also notched the ranking: 40th St. in Avalon; 40th St. in Sea Isle City; 96th St. in Stone Harbor; Webster in Upper Township; and Orchid in Wildwood Crest.

5: Number of beaches in mid-June still closed as a result of Hurricane Sandy: three in Ocean County and two in Monmouth County. Ortley Beach in Toms River and 7th Avenue beach in Brick Township have ongoing construction, but expect to reopen sometime this season. Berkeley Island beach, part of the Ocean County Park system, is closed indefinitely due to structural damage and a washed out road. In Monmouth County, Ideal Beach and Thompson Ave. beach in Middletown will not reopen, both are awaiting replenishment along the shoreline.