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State of New Jersey-Department of Environmental Protection-Division of Water Monitoring and Standards
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Public Health
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Ecological Health

  Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring


The recreational bathing beach standard for enterococcus was exceeded on 6/5/2017 and 6/6/2017, resulting in a closure of the 'Highlands Rec Center' beach in Monmouth County. Results were considered very high (920 and 390 CFU/100ml, respectively). Analysis found an association between enterococcus results and rainfall conditions.


  • Monmouth County Health Department (MCHD) requested assistance from the Bureau to conduct a joint sanitary survey in the area surrounding the 'Highlands Rec Center' beach. A flowing storm water outfall was found to be entering Mary's Creek which drains out next to the bathing beach. It was found the outfall originated from the intersection of Water Witch and Linden Avenues.
  • Sampling was conducted by the Bureau on 6/15/17, 6/19/17, and 6/26/17 from points along the storm water infrastructure network and Mary's Creek.
  • Results indicated elevated levels of bacteria in Mary's Creek near the storm water outfall. Using Antibiotic Resistance Analysis (ARA) it was determined that a human source was contributing to the bacterial pollution.
  • In collaboration, BMWM, MCHD, Monmouth County Engineering Department, Borough of Highlands, and Monmouth County Regional Health Commission conducted dye testing of the sanitary sewage infrastructure and video of the storm water system.
  • Dye testing of the sewage infrastructure on Linden Avenue revealed a sanitary sewage leak impacting the storm water infrastructure at the Water Witch and Linden Avenues intersection.
  • The Borough of Highlands conducted video of the sanitary line and found that two areas had cracks and joint separations.
  • These repairs were completed on 7/6/2017.


  • After repairs were made follow up samples confirmed the fix was effective.
  • The 'Highlands Rec Center' beach reopened on 7/11/2017.
  • The pre-repair enterococcus geometric mean for this beach was 53 CFU/100ml, exceeding the criteria of 35 CFU/100ml. The post-repair enterococcus geometric mean for this beach was 23 CFU/100ml.

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Last Updated: May 5, 2022