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SeVWA's 2016 E. coli Monitoring of Local River Sites Continued August 17th

The Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance (SeVWA) had the penultimate day of our monitoring program for the summer of 2016 on Wednesday, August 17th. Volunteers collected samples from 30 sites on eight rivers and streams and will conclude monitoring on August 31st. This year, we have sites on the West River, Rock River, North Branch Ball Mountain Brook, Williams River (including South Branch and Middle Branch), Saxtons River, Sacketts Brook, and Whetstone Brook.

The drought continues in our area with our entire sampling area remaining under moderate drought conditions and parts of eastern New Hampshire and Massachusetts being upgraded to extreme drought conditions. It’s hard to imagine the contrast in weather to our south in Louisiana where historic floods are devastating the southeastern part of the state. They received over two feet of rain with the most recent storm; it is the second rain event this year that received over 20 inches of rain. Many rivers have shattered previous flood stage records by 4-6 feet. If you are interested in donating to help flood victims in Louisiana, you can visit the United Way of Southeast Louisiana (http://www.unitedwaysela.org/flood). Unfortunately, as our climate continues to change, we can expect more extreme weather events throughout the world like the drought in New England and the flooding on the Gulf Coast.

We received some rain in the days leading up to August 17th and just about half of our sites tested above the suitability for swimming” standard set by the State of Vermont and the US Environmental Protection Agency. Often, high bacteria levels are a result of heavy rains due to the water flowing over the ground, particularly impervious surfaces, carries all the bacteria from the land into the stream with it. Because heavy rains can cause spikes in bacteria, it is generally recommended to wait 24-48 hours after a significant rainfall to resume swimming in lakes and streams.

Escherichia coli, more commonly known as E. coli, is a bacterium that is found in the guts of all warm blooded animals, including humans. Most E. coli will not make a person sick, but sometimes they can become pathogenic which means they can cause illness. Additionally, the presence of E. coli in waters acts as an indicator for the presence of other, more difficult to test for pathogens. We publish our results to the public in order to help everyone make informed decisions about recreating in southeastern Vermont’s waters.


SeVWA’s water quality monitoring program is supported by SeVWA volunteers, members and donors, including the Londonderry Conservation Commission, Robert Fritz, Inc, Rock River Preservation, Elaine Lambert Living Trust, State of VT Department of Environmental Conservation’s LaRosa Environmental Testing Laboratory, & Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC).

E. coli results charts and accompanying commentaries will appear at www.ibrattleboro.com (Nature section) every 2 weeks through the monitoring season. For more information about SeVWA’s monitoring program sites and results and other Connecticut River watershed water quality and recreational information, please visit www.ctriver.us.


Thanks again for all you do to support SeVWA's monitoring program and for your interest.

This information is provided by Ryan O’Donnell, SeVWA WQMP Coordinator, and Andrew Nguyen, ECO AmeriCorps member working with SeVWA summer 2016 (sevwa.volunteer@gmail.com).

SeVWA website – http://www.sevwa.org

Like us on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/SeVWA/

SeVWA E coli Results Chart 8-17-16.pdf491.34 KB

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Swim with confidence!

As always, you all do a great job and a great service. Thanks for the data.

I went out to the West River a day or so after a heavy rain and it was clear that runoff was impacting the water. Extra dirt, branches, and small things I can't see were there.

In addition to the extra crud in the water, the current was much stronger than usual... more water working its way down had more force.

People in inner tubes floating by looked happy - said there were hardly any rough spots to navigate.

Anyhow, thanks again!


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