If you are willing to take a dip in the 58 degree water,  there’s some very positive news as we start the South Jersey tourist season this Memorial Day Weekend.

The first water quality ratings for Atlantic county’s 14 miles of beaches are in and the results are excellent.

The Atlantic County Water Quality Program, in it’s 25th season, takes water quality samples from 34 different sites in Brigantine, Atlantic City, Ventnor,… Margate, Longport and Somers Point.

I’ve been sorting through the results of the test, which get a little technical, but here is a basic overview…

The Ocean Water Quality Index includes the following five grades, based on the number of enterococcus bacteria per 100 milliliters of water:

Excellent, 0-26 bacteria count; Very Good, 27-52 bacteria count; Good, 53-78 bacteria count; Fair, 79-104 bacteria count; Poor, bacteria count above 104, waters closed to swimmers.

Here are the results of this year’s first water quality tests. The index below reflects water testing samples from Monday, May 20, 2013:

 Atlantic County Ocean Water Quality Index

                           Excellent     Very Good     Good             Fair              Poor

                            0-26               27-52           53-78            79-104     Above 104

            Atlantic City - 6,  Brigantine - 4,  Longport - 4,  Margate - 4, Ventnor-4                                   

            Rating:                       All Excellent

For more information on this program, visit www.aclink.org/publichealth/ocean or call the Atlantic County Division of Public Health at 609-645-5935.