The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is once again working to calm concerns over cloudy water in the Barnegat Bay.

Testing by the Bureau of Marine Water Quality Monitoring this week found that the water from outfall pipes in Seaside Heights and Seaside Heights met federal and state safety standards for recreational bathing. The tests measured levels of Enterococci bacteria as well as nitrogen and phosphorus. Those samples were collected at Kearney Avenue in Seaside Heights and at L Street, Island Avenue, 8th Avenue and 22nd Avenue in Seaside Park.

Officials say the occasional cloudiness seen in the bay is the result of sealing work being conducted by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) on the Route 35 stormwater drainage system. The pumps required for the sealing work occasionally stir up silt from the bay floor, causing clouding of the water. The NJDOT is also in the process of updating the marine mattress system that is designed to minimize the stirring of the bay floor.

The stormwater system sealing project is 50% complete, and is expected to be finished this spring.