SeVWA’s 2018 E. coli Monitoring of Local Rivers Started June 20th!

The Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance (SeVWA) started its monitoring program for the summer of 2018 on Wednesday, June 20th. Volunteers will be collecting samples from 33 sites on nine rivers and streams every other week through the end of August. This year, we have sites on the West River, Flood Brook, North Branch Ball Mountain Brook, Rock River, Williams River (including the Middle Branch), Saxtons River, East Putney Brook, Sacketts Brook, and Whetstone Brook.

One of the parameters we test the water we collect for is Escherichia coli, more commonly known as E. coli. It 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 the bacteria can sometimes 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 that may cause waterborne illnesses to those swimming, wading, or boating. We publish our results to the public in order to help everyone make informed decisions about recreating in Vermont’s waters.

While there were a few heavy storms on Monday, Tuesday was dry and sunny across our region. Only a handful of our sites tested above the “suitability for swimming” standard set by the State of Vermont and the US Environmental Protection Agency. 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.

SeVWA’s water quality monitoring program is supported by SeVWA volunteers, members and donors, including the Putney Conservation Commission, the towns of Londonderry, Jamaica, Townshend, Wardsboro, Brookline, Newfane, Dummerston, and Brattleboro, Rock River Preservation, Grafton Village Cheese Company, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation LaRosa Partnership, & Connecticut River Conservancy.

For more information about SeVWA’s monitoring program sites and results and other Connecticut River watershed water quality and recreational information, please visit

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 Billy Ernest, 2018 EcoAmericorps Member (
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