Ocean beach swim advisories issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) shrink by two, but LBI remains nearly unchanged with seven bacteria problem spots this afternoon.

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Elevated bacteria levels keep advisories in place in Long Beach, at the Joan and Stockton Avenue beaches; in Beach Haven, at the Leeward Street and Taylor beaches; in Ship Bottom, at South 3rd and 14th Streets; and in Surf City, at North 10th Street.

DEP issued an advisory in Atlantic County, at the New Jersey Avenue bay beach in Somers Point. No closures or advisories exist in Cape May or Monmouth Counties.

Water samples are tested for enterococcus, which by state standards cannot exceed 104 colonies per 100 millileters, and for fecal coliform, which has a ceiling of 200 colonies per 100 milliliters.

Water containing excessive bacteria levels is immediately re-tested. Two consecutive samples exceeding recommended levels prompt swim advisories. Samples in problem areas are taken on succeeding days until levels drop into safe ranges.

Environmental officials speculate that rough surf, stirred by Gaston and related tropical depressions far off in the Atlantic, are combining with onshore wind and tide patterns, giving bacteria fewer escape routes and keeping them more highly concentrated near shore.

The Ocean County Health Department lists no advisories, and one closure at Harry Wright Lake upper beach in Manchester. The Ocean County Park lake beach in Lakewood is closed for the rest of the season, owing to consistently high bacteria counts attributed to geese.

Ocean County health staffers take water samples each Monday and Tuesday during the season.

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