Why Wreck Pond?

New Jersey Has Excellent Beaches

Percent of Beach Days Open for bathers - East Coast States 2010
Figure 1: Percent of beach days available to bathers based on USEPA data. Beach days are defines as the # of beaches open multiplied by the # of days in the beach season.

Relative Status of News Jersey Beach Water Quality

According to the latest data from the National Resource Defense Council’s (NRDC), Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches, assessment report of the nation’s beaches, New Jersey’s beach water quality at 700 public recreational bathing beaches is among the best in the country. In 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, New Jersey ranked 2nd in the nation for beach water quality, behind New Hampshire’s 16 public beaches (Figure 2 below). States are ranked by total number of exceedances of the standard as reported to EPA. The state that ranked first in the nation had the lowest number of exceedances; the state that ranked 30th, had the highest number of exceedances. This high water quality is also reflected in the number of days the beaches were open to the public in NJ. With 700 lifeguarded marine beaches in NJ and 15 weeks to the bathing season, NJ has a total of 73,500 beach-days available each summer. In 2011, there were a total of 132 beach closings or advisories, representing 0.18% of the available beach days (the beach was open for bathing 99.8 percent of the time). According to EPA, NJ has among the highest percentage of beaches open on the East Coast in 2010, the most recent year data is available (Figure 1 above).

Ranking of State by Percentage of Beachwater Samples Meeting Bacteria Standard in 2010
Figure 2: Ranking of states based on percentage of beach water quality samples meeting the bacteria standard.


However, some beach quality issues still remain…

2011 Ocean Beach Actions
Figure 3: 2011 NJ Ocean Beach Actions: percentage of total and reason for action.


The ocean beaches of Spring Lake have been particularly affected by the stormwater impact from the Wreck Pond discharge.  In 2002, a precautionary beach closing plan was implemented in Spring Lake.  It requires that the two beaches north of the Wreck Pond outfall, Brown Avenue and York Avenue, close for a specified time period following a rain event.  The bathing areas of these two beaches are automatically closed for 24 hours after the end of all rainfalls greater than 0.1 inch or that cause an increased flow in storm drains; and for 48 hours from the end of all rainfalls greater than 2.8 inches within a 24 hour period.   In addition, lifeguards (or staff as designated by Spring Lake) will prohibit swimming near any parts of these beaches where the stormwater plume is observed to be mixing within the swimming area.  In 2005, the Terrace beach and in 2007, Beacon Boulevard beach, both beaches in Sea Girt just south of the Wreck Pond outfall, were added to the precautionary beach closing plan.  The only automatic precautionary ocean beach closings in NJ are the Wreck Pond beaches.

Why the focus on Spring Lake and Sea Girt Beaches?

Testing the Waters

NRDC - The Earth's Best Defense

In New Jersey, elevated levels of enterococcus bacteria are discharged to the ocean from Wreck Pond’s outfall during rain events.  Source tracking efforts at Wreck Pond have shown that sources of pollution include stormwater runoff and suspected failing sewage infrastructure in the community surrounding the pond.


Majority of NJ’s ocean beach closure are a result of Wreck Pond’s discharge.

Majority of NJ's ocean beach closings are a result of Wreck Pond's discharge
Figure 4: Percentage of Ocean Beach Closures due to Wreck Pond’s discharge


Water Quality Results Highlight Slow Mixing

The slide show below demonstrates how the Wreck Pond discharge mixes slowly with the Atlantic Ocean, causing a prolonged impact on water quality (~36-72 hours depending on the amount of rainfall) at the Spring Lake and Sea Girt beaches after a rainfall event.  In most cases, stormwater runoff mixes with the ocean rapidly, shortening the duration of water quality impacts to a few hours after a rainfall.