Sampling results from the third round of Friends of the Mad River’s Mad River Watch volunteer water quality program show most sites with favorable swimming conditions, with only 2 of thirty-five sites testing above Vermont Health Department’s new water quality standard for E.coli in recreational waters (235 colonies of E.coli per 100 mL water). The sites were Lareau swim hole and along Pony Farm Road in Moretown.
E. coli is a type of coliform bacteria and is used as an indicator of pollution from human or animal waste and the potential presence of disease causing organisms. It is estimated that at the level of 235 colonies E.coli per 100 mL water, approximately 8 out of every 1,000 swimmers are likely to contract a water borne illness related to fecal contamination.
At the time of sampling Monday morning, the flow condition of the Mad River was low and declining at about 45 cubic feet per second (cfs), as measured at the USGS gage in Moretown. Median flow for this date is approx 74 cfs. Continued dry weather this summer has brought flow levels well below average levels throughout the watershed. These results are somewhat atypical, as low and declining flows most times do not carry high levels of E.coli; higher E.coli levels are usually associated with rain events and pollutants washing into the river. Mad River Watch program staff will continue to assess potential contamination sources in the coming months.
For more information about E. coli and the Mad River Watch program, to view our most recent complete data report Please visit the Friends of the Mad River website http://www.FriendsoftheMadRiver.org. Friends is a membership organization, and depends on the generous contributions of members to continue the Mad River Watch and other programs; learn how to become a member and donate securely online at our website.
Many thanks to this week’s Mad River Watch volunteers: Susy Deane, Mike Ware, Fran & Ben Plewak, Maxine Grad and Dave Gould. Also, many thanks to Cyndee Button, our volunteer Lab Coordinator.