Water quality testing underway in area rivers

A view of the Rainbow Rock swimming hole Photos by Shawn Cunningham.

Summer is in full swing with hot days, thunderstorms and lots of swimming. And with summer comes water quality testing for harmful bacteria. Sample bottles, thermometers, coolers, and paperwork in hand, Susan Brace and Frank Kelley headed out early Wednesday morning to collect samples.

The goal of the water quality program is to monitor the E.coli levels in the rivers. E.coli are a diverse group of bacteria that live in the digestive tracts of humans and animals and show up in their waste. Most E. coli are beneficial, a few are harmful. So as an overall indicator of water quality, the fewer E. coli in the water, the better.

Frank Kelley with a collection bottle and an air/water thermometer in 2012

Water was collected from the Williams River at Rainbow Rock, the Train Bridge, upstream of Rainbow Rock, and down at the Bartonsville Covered Bridge. The sampling will continue every other week from now until September. Additional testing in this area is done along the Saxtons River and the West River. Cheryl Joy Lipton and Cathy Mihaly are also part of the Williams River team.

The E. coli data from the program is reviewed and posted by the Southeastern Vermont Water Alliance and the Connecticut River Conservancy. Water quality results will be available on Friday, July 3rd and be posted at the Town of Chester website. In general, people are encouraged to wait 24 – 48 hours before swimming after a heavy rain to reduce exposure to potentially harmful bacteria coming from runoff.

If you would like to help sample water or learn more about the program, contact Frank Kelley at frank.kelley@trsu.org.



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  1. Tom Knockenhauer says:

    looking forward too see how our beautiful 😍 waters 💧 are doing.