TRENTON — The state Department of Environmental Protection on Tuesday closed three Jersey Shore beaches and issued advisories for 31 others, due to excessive bacteria levels caused by runoff from two days of storms last weekend.

The closed beaches were all along the Toms River in Ocean County: Beachwood Beach West in Beachwood, Summit Beach in Island Heights, and West Beach at Avon Road in Pine Beach.

Local health departments assist the DEP in its Coastal Cooperative Monitoring Program each summer season. When beaches have to be closed, according to, it is typically because poor runoff systems nearby wash the feces of geese and other creatures into the water.

"Poor water quality is not unusual after heavy rain, as stormwater runoff transfers bacteria from the soil to rivers, bays, and the ocean," said Townsquare New Jersey Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow. "With more heavy rain in the forecast, these problems may continue or resurface later this week."

The DEP stresses that advisories do not necessarily lead to closings. From a monitoring standpoint, a beach is closed when two consecutive samples show the bacteria Enterococci in levels above the acceptable standard. In the cases of both advisories and closings, additional sampling is done until those levels fall below the standard.

The 31 beaches for which advisories were issued Tuesday:

Monmouth County

Deal — Hathaway Avenue, Phillips Avenue; Highlands — Miller Beach; Long Branch — North Bath, South Bath; Middletown — Ideal Beach; Sea Bright — Rumson Road; Sea Girt — New York Boulevard; Spring Lake — York Avenue.

Ocean County

Ocean Gate — Wildwood; Point Pleasant Beach — Maryland Avenue; Point Pleasant Borough — River; Stafford — Jennifer; Toms River — 4th Avenue, North Beach.

Atlantic County

Atlantic City — Annapolis Avenue, Bartram, Georgia, Missouri Avenue, Montgomery Avenue, North Carolina Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue; Somers Point — New Jersey Avenue; Ventnor — Austin, Dorset, New Haven, Washington.

Cape May County

North Wildwood — 2nd Avenue and JFK; Ocean City — North, Park, Surf.

Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email

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