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08.09.10 MRW Results are in
By: friendv3 (friendv3) 2010.08.10

Mad River Watch volunteers collected water samples from 36 sites throughout the watershed early Monday morning.  Results show 16 sites 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.  Vermont’s standard for E.coli is 77 colonies per 100 ml sample, a conservative standard nationally.  

The sites found to be above the standard were:  Riverside Park, Clay Brook and Folsom Brook in Warren; Chase Brook and Mill Brook in Fayston; Couples Club, Waitsfield Covered Bridge, and Waitsfield Elementary in Waitsfield; as well as North Road, Moretown Village, Welder Brook, Ward Access in Moretown.  The highest reading was in Welder Brook in Moretown at 547.5 colonies E.coli per 100 ml sample.  

The volume of water flowing in the Mad was high and rising at the time of sampling.  After peaking at approximately 500 cubic feet per second (cfs) on August 3rd, water levels declined to approx. 80 cfs late on August 8th.  A rainstorm occurring late on August 8th and continuing into the morning of August 9th (sampling day) caused water levels to rise.  At the time of sampling, the discharge as measured at the USGS gage in Moretown was approximately 100cfs and rising.  The median flow for this date is 50 cfs (based on 80 years of data).   Keep in mind that generally E.coli levels rise as rain washes pollutants in to the river, and levels subside as dry weather returns – making swimming safer.

A full report of sampling results for this and other dates this summer can be found at the Friends of the Mad River website:, or call us at 496-9127 with questions.

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

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