Is It Clean?

Welcome to the 2014 water quality monitoring season.  People are out on the water, and 15 organizations are out there sampling 111 sites across the Connecticut River watershed so that river users can gain a sense of water quality and the general health and safety of their favorite spots.  Last season 4,400 visitors accessed the page, some throughout the season.  We invite you to check out a spot near you before heading out this season.  Results for most sites are available during the general season of May-October.  

The Connecticut River and its tributaries are much, much cleaner than they were ten, twenty or thirty years ago. Citizens, businesses, cities and towns have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up our waters, but unfortunately there are still times when it isn't the best idea to go swimming or boating. The map on this page identifies sites recently sampled for Escheria coli bacteria levels, also called E. coli bacteria.  Click on the blue, yellow, or red map icons to learn more about bacteria levels at that site and the associated group's monitoring work, or use the drop down boxes to search by site name, town, state, water body or organization.

In addition to the bacteria level for each sampling event, it is noted whether or not it was a wet weather event. Wet weather is defined as any day in which >0.1" of rain fell within the 48 hours preceding sample collection. Bacteria levels are typically elevated during wet weather events, and good precautions to take include avoiding swimming right after a heavy rain or downstream of a sewage outfall and covering open cuts.  Beyond health concerns, swimmers should also be mindful to only swim in areas that match their abilities and be aware of depths, obstructions and tidal influence in the mainstem of the Lower River. 

BLUEClean for swimming and boating<235 cfu/100 ml
YELLOWClean for boating only235 - 575 cfu/100 ml
REDNot clean for swimming or boating>575 cfu/100 ml

Certain bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms can make you sick with stomach pains, rashes, breathing problems, diarrhea, or other intestinal problems. We test for the amount of E. coli bacteria in the water which is an indicator for all types of other "bad guys". These numbers represent a risk threshold, or the chance that you might get sick if you came in contact with water with a concentration of these bacteria. If a person follows the guidance used at theis website, they will have a less than 1% chance of contracting a water-borne disease. For more detailed information about bacteria standards for primary and secondary contact click here.  We wish you a fun and safe season!

Connecticut River Bacteria Data 2008-2011

Connecticut River Bacteria Data 2012

Connecticut River Bacteria Monitoring Video

Field Guide to Visual Water Quality Indicators



Red Not Clean for Boating or Swimming
Yellow Clean for Boating
Blue Clean for Boating and Swimming