BELMAR, NJ —Belmar’s L Street beach remains closed as higher-than-acceptable bacteria levels were found in water samples tested by state environmental officials.

The concentration of fecal bacteria exceeded state standards for the second consecutive day on August 14, keeping the beach along the Shark River closed until the level decreases to an acceptable level, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

DEP regulations require that the concentration not exceed 104 colonies of enterococci bacteria per 100 milliliters of the sample. The L Street beach test results showed a level of 370 colonies on August 13, while results for August 14 were not immediately available.

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The beach was closed on August 13 after more than 6 inches of rain fell in Belmar in less than three hours, causing stormwater to overflow from the nearby K Street drain on Route 35 into the river waters.

Although the heavy rains flooded streets throughout Belmar — as it took time for its sewer and stormwater systems to handle the extremely high volume of water — the borough’s ocean beaches were not affected and remain open, as water samples taken yesterday at the Fifth, 12th  and 20th Avenue beaches met state standards.

Each week, recreational beach water quality monitoring by the DEP is performed at about 180 ocean and 35 bay monitoring stations along the Jersey Shore. Samples are analyzed for the presence of enterococci, a type of bacteria found in animal and human waste that is an indicator of possible contamination of bathing waters, according to the cooperative coastal monitoring program.

When a sample exceeds the state standard, a swimming advisory is issued and additional sampling is conducted and continues each day until the sample result is below the level. If two consecutive daily samples exceed the standard, the bathing beach closes until sample results are below the standard.

For more information on the program and current beach closings, visit its website by clicking here.

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