Water Quality Monitoring 101

June 28, 2016

Ever wonder how clean your local waterway really is? Feel squeamish thinking about swimming or fishing in Bayshore waters? Fear not! We are able to provide you with more insight into Raritan Bay water quality through a New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program grant we received to monitor for pathogen indicators! Everyone should be able to safely fish and swim in their local waterway, but raw sewage discharged into our waterways often contain pathogens which can cause illness following contact.

On a weekly basis, NY/NJ Baykeeper staff and recruited citizen science volunteers collect water samples from nine locations along Raritan Bay including Perth Amboy, the Raritan Yacht Club, Fisherman’s Beach in South Amboy, Paul’s Beach in Old Bridge Township and Cedar Street in Keyport.

Our volunteers have the unique experience of slipping into waders and using a YSI Meter to read the pH, salinity, temperature and barometric pressure of the water. After our volunteers record these numbers per location, we than proceed to collect water samples at each site and place each sample in a cooler. Once all the samples are collected, we head off to the College of Staten Island where the samples are processed in their laboratory space.

We are  happy to report that the first two weeks' worth of samples came back negative for pathogens.

If you are interested in getting involved with our water quality monitoring program and advocating for your local waterway, email Meredith Comi at [email protected].

Nicholas Panissidi

NY/NJ Baykeeper Intern