By BRIAN LIPPAI on Monday, May 15, 2017

One of the nation’s longest running and most comprehensive beach testing programs will once again monitor Ocean County’s ocean, bay, river and lake beaches this summer season. "The Ocean County Health Department will be back inspecting the water quality every week at 52 public bathing beaches throughout the county from mid-May through Labor Day 2017," said Freeholder Deputy Director Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health.


Each week the OCHD tests water samples from the county’s salt and freshwater swimming beaches. The water is tested for two types of bacteria - enterococcus and fecal coliform. If the results come back with higher than acceptable levels, the water is immediately retested. After the second high reading, the beach is closed and tested daily until bacteria levels return to normal. “We can all help to keep our waterways and beaches clean by picking up after our pets and not throwing trash or cigarette butts onto the streets,” said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, who is also liaison to the Office of Tourism and Business Development. “This waste eventually washes into lakes, rivers and the bay and contributes to our beach closings.”


You can help to protect your health while swimming at the beach by taking these simple steps:

  • Observe Swimming Advisories;do not enter the water at a beach under a swimming advisory.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming;natural waters may contain disease-causing organisms that can cause gastrointestinal illness if swallowed.
  • Avoid swimming for a few days after heavy rainfall;bacteria levels are likely to be high and disease-causing organisms are more likely to be present after rainfall due to pollution from land runoff and other sources.
  • Prevent direct contact of cuts and open wounds;natural waters may contain disease-causing organisms that may cause skin infections.
  • Do not swim if you are ill or have a weakened immune system;some organisms are opportunistic and may only cause illness when you are already ill or your immune system is weakened.
  • Shower with soap after swimming;showering helps remove potential disease-causing organisms.
  • Swim away from fishing piers, pipes, drains, and water flowing from storm drains onto a beach.
  • Do not dispose of trash, pet waste, or dirty diapers on the beach.

Daniel E. Regenye, Ocean County Health Department Public Health Coordinator, advises, "The Ocean County Health Department posts on its website a list of all 52 beaches within the monitoring program, the weekly water quality reports and any closures so residents and visitors can have up to date information before hitting the beach this summer."