PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
August 7, 2017

Cathleen D. Bennett
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

New Jersey Department of Health Proposes Amendments, Repeals, and New Rules Governing Public Recreational Bathing Facilities at N.J.A.C. 8:26

The New Jersey Department of Health’s Public Health and Food Protection Program is proposing amendments, repeals and new rules to N.J.A.C. 8:26 Public Recreational Bathing, which establishes sanitary and safety standards for public recreational bathing facilities, which are non-private bathing beaches, hot tubs and spas, swimming and wading pools, and lake fronts.

Following the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) recommendations, the rules would propose changing the bacteriological testing organism from fecal coliform to E. coli.  Amendments would also require installation of anti-entrapment suction outlet covers, which is currently required for new construction in the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code and part of federal law.   

Another amendment focused on protecting public health would require the bathing beach owner/operator to post a sign when bacteria levels have been elevated in the past 24 hours. The sign would state that the test results may be viewed online at www.njbeaches.org  and provide the phone number of the local health department. In addition, the sign would explain that bacteria levels change with the weather, tides, and currents, and that they are usually highest near storm water pipes, especially during and after rainfall. 

For bathing beaches that have been closed more than 50 percent of the time over the course of a year after a weather event such as rainfall, the proposal would require the owner/operator to post a permanent sign at all beach entrances and both ends of the beach saying, “Warning!  Rainfall causes the water quality at the beach to exceed microbiological water quality standards.  Water contact may cause illness.  No swimming or bathing is allowed for ___ hours after the rain has stopped to enable the rainfall-caused water pollution to dissipate.”  The owner/operator would have to specify the number of hours during which swimming or bathing is prohibited based upon testing experience. The rule would require the owner/operator to ensure that the internationally recognized “No swimming” pictogram be included on the sign and include the date of posting and telephone number of the local health department.

The proposed rules would also require dressing rooms and bathrooms at all public recreational bathing facilities for the first time, with some exceptions.  Bathrooms at these facilities may be portable.  Public recreational bathing facilities constructed prior to November 4, 1986 shall not be required to provide dressing rooms.   There is a waiver provision for good cause at the discretion of the local health authority.

Those wishing to comment on the proposal must submit written comments either electronically by October 6, 2017 to https://nj.gov/health/legal/ecomments.shtml or by regular mail postmarked on or before October 6, 2017 to Joy L. Lindo, Director, Office of Legal and Regulatory Compliance, New Jersey Department of Health, PO Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360.

LexisNexis provides free online access to the New Jersey Register at http://www.lexisnexis.com/njoal.   An unofficial copy of the proposal is also available from the Department’s website at https://nj.gov/health/legal/rules/notice-of-rule-proposals/

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter @njdeptofhealth, Facebook /njdeptofhealth, Instagram @njdeptofhealth and Snapchat @njdoh.

For more information, visit our homepage at nj.gov/health.

Last Reviewed: 8/7/2017