Garden State Laboratories, Inc.

Analytical Excellence Since 1943

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Pool and Lake Testing

The New Jersey Dept. of Health has issued new Executive Directives (7/1/20). Executive Directive NO. 20-022 "Health and Safety Standards for Pools & Aquatic Recreation Facilities" concerns outdoor pools, indoor pools, whirlpools & hot tubs and water parks.

Executive Directive NO. 20-023 "Health and Safety Standards for Outdoor Amusement and Water Parks" concern outdoor facilities only. Indoor amusement and water parks remain closed at this time.

The CDC is offering considerations for the safety of those who operate, manage and use public pools, hot tubs and water playgrounds during COVID-19. Watch the Video!

Here is Executive Order #153, signed by Governor Philip D. Murphy, June 9, 2020 concerning the operation of Outdoor Pools.

In January 2018 the New Jersey Department of Health adopted changes to the Public Recreational Bathing Regulations (N.J.A.C. 8:26-1 et. seq.).  These changes affect the bacteriological sampling and processing of public recreational bathing facilities. Click here to view these changes as published in the New Jersey Register.

Here is the complete publication of the new Regulations, effective January 16, 2018.

Here is a link to an EnviroPolitics Blog video with Lab Director Harvey Klein, M.S., discussing the proposed Public Recreational Bathing Regs and Drinking Water standards.

Garden State Laboratories, Inc. is one of the largest recreational bathing water testing laboratories on the east coast. Recreational bathing waters include public swimming pools, wading pools, lakes, beaches, whirlpools, spas, hot tubs and aquatic facilities. Garden State Labs tests for both bacteria and chemical content in recreational bathing waters. If you need testing services please call us at 800-273-8901 or email us.

The updated 2018 Public Recreational Bathing Regulations have changed bacteriological sampling and analytical requirements:

- The swimming pool, wading pool, whirlpool, spa, hot tub and aquatic facility sample holding time has been shortened from 30 hours to 8 hours.
- The fresh (lake) water analysis has changed from Fecal Coliform to E. coli with a water quality standard (WQS) of 320 organisms per 100 ml and a 30 day rolling Geometric Mean standard of 100 organisms per 100 ml.  The GM shall be calculated by the local health authority.
- Marine water (ocean beaches) is tested for Enterococci, WQS - 104 organisms per 100 ml and the GM standard of 30 organisms per 100 ml.
- Samples shall be held at less than 50°F (10°C) during transport. Samples shall not be frozen.
- The local health authority and the operator must be notified of bacterial exceedances within 1 hour of the unsatisfactory result being obtained.
- Bacterial resamples must be taken within 24 hours and analyzed.
- A report of all laboratory analyses shall be transmitted to the health authority within one business day of completion of analyses.
- If cyanuric acid or stabilized chlorine is used, cyanuric acid concentration must be tested weekly. This is an operational test performed by the outdoor pool.
- A swimming pool, wading pool, whirlpool, hot tub, and spa shall be closed immediately if the disinfectant residual or pH is not within the specified ranges.
- A preopening sample shall be taken prior to opening for the season.

To facilitate sampling and analysis with the shortened (8 hour) holding times Garden State Labs is establishing a new Jersey Shore Lab in Waretown, NJ.

- Bacteriological samples can be taken by clients and delivered to any of our 4 NJ locations:

- The Main Lab in Hillside, Union County
- The Jersey Shore Lab in Waretown, Ocean County
- The North Jersey Office in Sparta, Sussex County
- The West Jersey Office in Glen Gardner, Hunterdon County

Instructions for Swimming Pool and Whirlpool/Spa sampling.

Instructions for fresh water (lake) and marine water (Ocean Beach) sampling

When a client takes their own sample and submits it to the Lab, a Client Sampling Form must be filled out, signed and submitted with the sample. You may print out the Client Sampling Form by clicking here.

For technical information about sampling and transporting bathing water samples contact the lab at 800-273-8901.

The NJDOH has posted a Public Recreational Bathing Regs. FAQ page (March 2020).

The New Jersey Dept. of Health presented this information on the Public Recreational Bathing Rule Changes at the NJ Environmental Health Association conference in March 2018.

The New Jersey State Department of Health has set bacterial and chemical standards for public recreational bathing waters (N.J.A.C. 8:26-1 et seq). These regulations govern construction, safety, operations and water quality. 

New Chlorine Stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid) Recommendations

The Centers for Disease Control published in June 2015, a scientific article on the effect of chlorine stabilizer (Cyanuric Acid - CYA) on the inactivation by chlorine on the microorganism, Cryptosporidium.  Based upon this article Garden State Labs, Inc. is recommending that if CYA is utilized, CYA be used at 10 parts per million (mg/l) and not exceed 15 ppm.  If CYA is used in a pool either directly or in a stabilized chlorine product, such as some slow dissolving tablets, NJ Regulations require CYA be tested weekly and the results retained along with the pH and chlorine results.

Effect of Cyanuric Acid on the Inactivation of Cryptosporidium parvum under Hyperchlorination Conditions:  Jennifer L. Murphy,Michael J. Arrowood, Xin Lu,Michele C. Hlavsa,† Michael J. Beach,†and Vincent R. Hill†; †Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, United States: (c) American Chemical Society, Environmental Science and Technology 2015, 49, 7348−7355

New NJDEP Lake Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Sampling Status - Map & Color-Coded Public Health Alert Index


New Rapid Pool Testing Methods

Garden State Labs is using new bacteriological testing methods.

Change in Free Chlorine/Bromine Standards

The New Jersey State Department of Health has set free chlorine and bromine levels in public recreational bathing waters.

Free Chlorine levels in both indoor and outdoor swimming pools shall be 1.0 to 10.0 ppm.  In whirlpools, spas and hot tubs the free chlorine shall be 2.0 to 10.0 ppm.

The standard for bromine in swimming pools, whirlpools, spas and hot tubs is 2.0 to 10.0 ppm.

Swimming pool, whirlpool, spa and hot tub water shall be within acceptable standards for other parameters such as pH, 7.2 to 7.8 pH standard units, combined chlorine not exceed 0.2 ppm, stabilizer (cyanuric acid) and pool water clarity.

Our analytical reports have been updated to include these interpretations. Here is the link to the NJ Dept. of Health Free Chlorine Residual Guidance Document.

The New Jersey regulations require weekly testing for bacteria by a State Certified Laboratory and testing every two hours for pH and disinfectants (such as free chlorine or bromine) in swimming pools, whirlpools, spas and hot tubs. Lakes and beaches have to test for bacteria weekly. The bacterial tests are the standard plate count and total coliform in swimming pools, the standard plate count and Pseudomonas aeruginosa in whirlpools, spas and hot tubs, and E. coli in lakes.

The NJDEP is requiring enterococci testing for ocean beaches. The enterococci result shall not exceed 104 enterococci per 100 ml. E. coli has replaced fecal coliform in natural waters.

The State Regs also require that a Trained Pool Operator (TPO) be hired by all recreational bathing facilities to be responsible for maintenance and mechanical operations.

Federal OSHA regulations also require that lifeguards be trained to deal with potential exposures to blood and bloodborne pathogens.

With 75 years of water testing experience we can help you with many types of water quality problems.

We are often asked about bacteria in water, what type of disinfectant to use and what are acceptable levels. You may email us with your questions and we will try to help. Please be as detailed as possible.

For important information about the Care and Feeding of Pool Waters:

Click here for chlorine and other disinfectants

Click here for pH

Click here for chlorine stabilization and cyanuric acid.

Click here for information on the use of DPD & phenol red tablet and liquid reagents - Garden State Labs uses tablets.

There are a variety of pool and recreational bathing pages on the Web. Here are some with information about recreational bathing waters, health and swimming (The information contained on these pages may or may not be accurate, Garden State Labs is not responsible for any information found on these pages);

The New Jersey State Department of Health Public Recreational Bathing Regulations, NJ State Sanitary Code, Chapter IX N.J.A.C. 8:26, Effective Date: January 16, 2018.

The New Jersey State Department of Health Bacterial and Chemical Public Bathing Standard

The Centers for Disease Control's EXCELLENT web site for Swimming Pools/ Recreational Water Safety.

The Pool and Hot Tub Alliance has information about pool operations and training. It lists a schedule for Certified Pool Operator (CPO) courses.

The Professional Pool Operators of America supported swimming pool and waterpark operators. It had many informational articles. For an interesting article about chlorine stabilization and cyanuric acid, click here.

If you know of other interesting links relating to recreational bathing waters email us and we may post them.


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Garden State Laboratories, Inc.
410 Hillside Avenue
Hillside, NJ 07205

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