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Barnegat Light bay beach closed due to high bacteria counts

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BARNEGAT LIGHT – A bayside beach in Barnegat Light closed Wednesday due to high levels of bacteria discovered in several water tests.

The beach at 25th Street was closed after health officials found levels of fecal bacteria more than five times what is considered safe for swimming.

Water samples collected Monday and Tuesday contained 550 colonies or more of Enterococci bacteria per 100 milliliters along the bay beach, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The department’s threshold for safe swimming is no more than 104 colonies per 100 milliliters.

Each week, health officials test 180 beach and 35 bay monitoring sites in New Jersey for high levels of Enterococci, a bacteria that is found in the intestines of many animals as well as humans.

The bacteria can make its way into bays, rivers and the ocean through sources like leaky septic systems, pet and wildlife waste, manure-based fertilizers and farms, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

It is used as an indicator microbe to reflect the likely presence of other illness-causing pathogens, including viruses, bacteria and protozoa, according to the EPA. 

Health officials will continue to retest water samples and reopen the beach when bacteria levels fall below the safe-swimming threshold.

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Amanda Oglesby is an Ocean County native who covers Brick, Barnegat and Lacey townships as well as the environment. She has worked for the Press for more than a decade. Reach her at @OglesbyAPP, [email protected] or 732-557-5701.

Source: Asbury Park


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