Clean Ocean Action

What are the Risks Associated with Effluent?

Some risks are associated with effluent depending on the magnitude and extent of the contamination by pathogens, toxins, and nutrients.



There are risks from pathogens.  New Jersey monitoring only tests for indicators of bacterial pathogens, not all types of pathogens.  Currently, the pathogen indicators used to protect human health are limited to bacterial pathogens and do not protect against viral pathogens that are common causes of bathing-related illnesses, such as respiratory infections.  Elevated of bacterial pathogen indicators are used as the basis for closing bathing beaches and shellfish beds.



Toxins that remain in effluent after the treatment process also threaten the health of humans and marine life.  Many of the toxins that enter the wastewater system have no permitted discharge limits, including chlorine and its by-products that result from disinfection processes.  This may allow toxins to build up in sediments and the tissues of marine organisms, having detrimental, if not lethal effects on marine organisms and placing human consumers of seafood at risk.  The extent and magnitude of risks are unknown because, to date, there have not been surveys of toxin contamination in sediments and tissues around outfalls.


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Gateway National Recreation Area
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