To sneak or not to sneak around a warning?


There’s nothing more depressing that waking up early and driving an hour down the parkway to find out the beach is closed. It makes you think of the scene in ‘National Lampoons Vacation’ when Wally World is closed. But, we react like the Griswold’s and sneak on to the beach.

Sorry folks, we’re closed…

The water quality at New Jersey beaches fluctuates with rainfall episodes. When an event like Hurricane Irene occurs, it is a given that pollution will wash into the ocean water. But the real problem creeps up with normal rain storms, which can wash fertilizer, oil, gas, salt, pet waste, etc. into our water! The New Jersey DEP works hard to test water for dangerous bacteria and chemicals that can be harmful to humans. In 2009, there were 180 beach closings during the season, that’s almost 25% of Jersey’s beaches! When a beach is closed, it is important that you heed the warning; it’s for your own good!

Surprisingly, there are some guidelines to make sure you are never left staring at a polluted and closed beach. The National Resources Defense Council suggests:

* If possible, choose beaches that are next to open waters or away from urban areas. They typically pose less of a health risk than beaches in developed areas or in enclosed bays and harbors with little water circulation.

* Look for pipes along the beach that drain storm water runoff from the streets, and don’t swim near them.

*Avoid swimming in beach water that is cloudy or smells bad.

* Keep your head out of the water.

* Avoid swimming for at least 24 hours after heavy rains (which can wash pollution into the water).

*Contact local health officials if you suspect beach water contamination so that others can be protected from exposure.

Keep it clean and enjoy the beach!


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