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08.10.09 Drier Weather Brings Safer Swimming Conditions
By: friendv3 (friendv3) 2009.08.11

Mad River Watch volunteers braved the sunshine (finally!) to collect water samples from 36 sites throughout the watershed early Monday morning.  Results show lower E.coli levels in most locations than were recorded during the last Mad River Watch analysis on July 27th.  No sites were in violation of Vermont water quality standards for recreational waters.  The standard measures E.coli bacteria, which is found when there is fecal contamination present.  High E.coli levels in water indicate the likelihood of high levels of water-borne pathogens, which can sicken swimmers.

Dry weather and the lack of significant rainfall in the past week resulted in declining water levels, and subsequently declining E.coli levels.  Between July 30th and August 3rd periodic rainfall events brought the river flow up to near 1,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), very high for the Mad River during mid to late summer.  Since then, the river has been steadily declining; at the time of sampling on August 10th the flow as measured at the USGS gauge in Moretown was approximately 140 cfs, still significantly higher than the average flow for this date (52 cfs).

 Click here for a full report of the Mad River Watch results. (44 kb pdf)

Many thanks to our wonderful lab coordinator Cyndee Button, and also to our cadre of dedicated volunteer sample collectors.  Volunteers this week include: Michael Ware, Jonathon Goldhammer, Fran and Gary Plewak, Katie Sullivan, and Susy Deane.  Thanks to Patti Greene-Swift for posting the results at swimholes from Warren to Moretown.

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