Stormwater runoff identified as contamination culprit at NJ beaches

New report shows how often bay beaches were contaminated by stormwater runoff last year

As you make your plans for the weekend, consider this… On at least 35 days last year, New Jersey’s beaches were potentially unsafe for swimming due to high bacteria levels. Most of the problems were on the bay side of the barrier islands. According to a new report issued this week by a coalition of environmental groups, the biggest culprit wasn’t garbage or other similar pollution, but stormwater runoff.

“The more development we have means the more polluted stormwater. We obviously have stormwater detention basins to help try to capture that stormwater and filter it out but the reality is that a lot of them are antiquated and a lot of them aren’t working as well as they should be,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey.

READ: Water at beaches broke federal health guidelines 35 times last year, report says

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