Monday, January 16, 2012
Most New Jersey Waters too Polluted for People or Aquatic Life by Todd B. Bates
Forty years after the federal Clean Water Act, most New Jersey water bodies are too polluted for people or aquatic life. Here are the reasons:
2.3 percent of 951 watershed areas meet all water quality standards for recreation, aquatic life and other uses (except for eating fish). Just one brook — 0.1 percent of 952 watershed areas studied overall — meets all standards.
0.3 percent of waters meet standards for eating fish.
16 percent of waters are safe enough for swimming and other recreational uses.
22 percent of New Jersey waters are healthy enough for aquatic life.
48 percent of waters designated for drinking water supplies are safe to drink after treatment.
90 percent of shellfish waters meet shellfish harvesting standards but have restrictions in some cases. Sixty percent of such waters fully meet standards.
Nearly 100 percent of New Jersey’s ocean bathing beaches are fully swimmable. Yet all of the state’s ocean waters fail to meet standards for healthy aquatic life and eating fish, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
Source: N.J. DEP information based on 2004 through 2008 tests; EPA