Contributers: Julianna Byrne, Caylee Lovinfoss, and Samantha Testa
17 August 2018
The Toms River subwatershed is 124 square miles making it the largest drainage area of any river in the Barnegat Bay watershed. Dozens of small tributaries drain into the Toms River from across Ocean County, widening the reach of the Toms River subwatershed. Because of the high volume of people that the Toms River subwatershed includes, it is imperative to monitor the health and efficiency of the Toms River in order to understand Barnegat Bay. In this study, the Toms River was tested and monitored at various sites in Beachwood, Pine Beach, and Island Heights. Water quality parameters tested included temperature, salinity, chlorophyll-a, pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria colonies, optical brightening agents, nitrates, and phosphates. The results showed that Beachwood had a strong relationship between bacteria colonies and optical brightening agents. The Island Heights sites, located on Dillon’s Creek, showed relationships between bacteria and optical brightening agents along with high levels of phosphates and nitrates, especially after rainfall events. Because of the strong correlation between optical brightening agents and bacteria colonies at various locations, it is necessary to investigate the quality of the storm drain pipes and sewage pipes throughout the Barnegat Bay watershed. The findings suggest that there may be some old pipes or illegal connections. Further investigation may be warranted by the Ocean County Health Department or municipal utilities authorities specifically at Beachwood Beach and along Dillon’s Creek.