Ernie Hahn, Assistant Commissioner, Land Use Management
at World Water Monitoring Day - NJ Celebration
Washington Crossing State Park
October 24, 2003
On October 24, 2003, DEP Assistant Commissioner Ernie Hahn made the following five (5) water monitoring public announcements:
Establishment of the New Jersey Water Monitoring Coordinating Council. Members include representation from NJDEP, US Geological Survey (USGS), the Delaware River Basin Commission, EPA Region 2, the Marine Sciences Consortium, the Interstate Environmental Commission, the Pinelands Commission, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute, the Monmouth County Health Department, and Rutgers University - the Water Resources Research Institute and the Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences. The focus of this interagency coordinating body is to serve as a statewide collaborative council to help achieve effective collection, interpretation, and dissemination of New Jersey water monitoring information. The Council will address the full range of aquatic resources, including ground and surface waters, freshwater, estuarine, and marine environments, and associated watershed resources in the State. New Jersey will join approximately one dozen other states or regions in coordinating its monitoring through a state council and will also coordinate with the National Water Monitoring Council. The Council will initiate its work in January 2004.
Real-time Coastal Water Quality Data. Data on the water quality at 4 coastal locations were made available to the public for the first time on the Internet. The data are received from automated sensors on buoys that are located in bays, channels and lakes off the coast of Atlantic and Cape May counties. These buoys measure temperature, pH, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and chlorophyll a. Buoy information can be accessed at: http://www.nj.gov/dep/bmw/sensorhome.htm. Data are available real-time during the months of March to November; between December and February, the buoys are removed from the water due to the potential for freezing. Funding for this innovative monitoring program was gratefully received from EPA, through the Agency's Region 2 office.
Ambient Lakes Monitoring. The department will initiate a renewed lakes monitoring program. This program will involve the testing of randomly selected lakes from the state's approximately 1200 named lakes. Water quality measurements will include parameters such as DO, pH, nutrients, and chlorophyll a. Such testing will assist New Jersey in determining the status and trends in lake water quality, as needed to meet our Clean Water Act requirements and our Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)-related water quality assessment obligations.
River and Stream Toxics Monitoring. Limited, enhanced monitoring for toxic metals, such as lead and mercury, will be conducted in randomly selected rivers and streams. The enhancement will involve an additional round of testing required to make a sound assessment of the status of water quality. This testing will be conducted as part of the joint DEP/USGS Cooperative Ambient Stream Monitoring Network (ASMN).
Bacterial Source Trackdown Improvements. The department currently has a unique but very limited capability to perform bacterial source trackdown work. This technique has recently been applied in response to sewage spills in the NY/NJ Harbor and in the Atlantic Ocean. The use of bacterial source trackdown in the Sayreville Spill response allowed for an expedited re-opening of the Harbor for shellfish harvesting. This technique has also been used for microbial source identification in the Rancocas Watershed and in Wreck Pond (Monmouth County). Additional resources are being made available in FY03 to expand the ability of the department to perform this type of work. These resources will be used to expand the existing laboratory facilities, which will greatly facilitate the department's accelerated schedule for fecal coliform TMDL work in New Jersey. One of the key aspects of this type of analysis is its ability to determine whether the fecal source is human or animal; exposure to human fecal sources is more related to potential adverse public health consequences. Having such source/cause information can assure that TMDL implementation plans are addressing the priority water quality problems and the appropriate fecal sources.
See our Press Release for additional information regarding NJ's celebration of World Water Monitoring Day or view a slide show of some of the activities that occurred during our celebration at Washington Crossing State Park.