UNION BEACH – Environmental groups and citizens called on the state to adopt simple recommendations demanding improvements to the existing beach rules now pending before the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) for re-adoption.
Many updates are needed; however, the NJDHSS has not proposed any changes to the Public Recreation Bathing Rules. The groups provided simple, easy recommendations to improve the rules in comments submitted to state which are highlighted in the release of “Seven Simple Ways to Save Swimmers from Sewage.”
“The outdated existing rules are inadequate, fail to protect public health, and lack common sense,” stated Cindy Zipf, Executive Director, Clean Ocean Action. “NJ’s current rules are also inconsistent with United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) guidelines to protect public health.”
“The state’s rules should be more protective of the public’s health,” said John Weber, Northeast Regional Manager for the Surfrider Foundation. “Other states post a warning after one high test for harmful bacteria; there is no reason NJ can’t do the same.”
“The state must recognize that the public uses our Raritan Bayshore and other bay beaches even though many are not designated for swimming or do not have lifeguards on duty,” said Debbie Mans, Baykeeper and Executive Director, NY/NJ Baykeeper. “The public must be made aware of public health threats at these beaches due to fecal pollution in a timely, proactive and broad manner.”
“Stormwater, which washes pollution into coastal waters, contributes to health risks and many beach closures in NJ,” said Tim Dillingham, Executive Director, American Littoral Society. “The beach rules need to include storm event testing requirements as well as advisories, additional sampling, and pollution cleanup where problems are identified.”
“The rules need to require public notification and improved communication. The data posting system on the state website needs to be automated to save time and reduce errors. Notification needs to be added to the website about when beaches are lifeguarded and officially opened. Beachgoers should be encouraged to use these beaches,” stated Heather Saffert, Staff Scientist, Clean Ocean Action. “Health risks of swimming and water activities also need to be explained.”
“We need test methods that provide same day results,” added Saffert. “We urge New Jersey to expand its current efforts to support rapid test development by conducting a pilot program that targets high density beaches and frequently closed beaches that could provide same day results. We also need to prepare the rules so that the state can quickly adopt the rapid testing methods.”
“These recommended improvements to the recreational bathing rules will provide valuable health and safety information to the public that will enhance water activity enjoyment with the added benefit of helping to pinpoint pollution sources,” stated Ralph Coscia, Citizen Right to Access the Beach.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!