New Jersey issues water contamination warning

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As a public health and safety precaution, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is advising recreational boaters, anglers and crabbers to temporarily avoid the waters of northern Barnegat Bay, from Barnegat Light to Point Pleasant, and is advising residents not to eat any fish, crustaceans or shellfish from these waters because of potential contamination from pathogens — bacteria and viruses.

Water sampling in the area is showing elevated levels of contaminants, likely because of damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, which knocked several waste water treatment facilities in the state offline, resulting in the temporary runoff of effluents into some waterways, according to a statement issued by Gov. Chris Christie.

The affected area runs from Barnegat Light to the Metedeconk River and includes tributaries entering the bay, including the Toms River, Metedeconk River and smaller streams that enter the bay. Those who boat or fish in these waters are advised to thoroughly wash, clean and disinfect any gear immediately.

The area south of Barnegat Light is not under advisory, but the DEP continues to conduct tests of waters along the state’s entire Atlantic coastline.

A similar fishing and boating advisory that was announced Friday remains in effect for the New Jersey portion of the Hudson River, Passaic River, Hackensack River, Newark Bay, Kill Van Kull and Arthur Kill, Raritan Bay, Raritan River and Sandy Hook Bay.

All anglers, crabbers and boaters are encouraged to visit the Hurricane Sandy webpage  for updates on this advisory. In addition, click here for current fish consumption advisories.

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