Anne Capra, PVPC Principal Planner (413) 781-6045

Andrew Fisk, CRC Executive Director (413) 772-2020


June 27, 2012

The fifth season of the Connecticut River Bacteria Monitoring Program is underway, with volunteers monitoring the  Connecticut River and several tributaries for E. coli bacteria levels at more than 30 locations. Monitoring takes place on Wednesdays or Thursdays from June through the first week of October, and results can be found at a new interactive website,

The website offers guidance about whether the water is clean enough for swimming and boating relative to the weekly bacteria levels, so that river users can make informed decisions to prevent potential illness. E. coli is an indicator for all types of “bad” microorganisms that can be present in the river, causing stomach pains, rashes, breathing problems, diarrhea, and other intestinal problems. Generally, bacteria levels are elevated after a storm event due to combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and stormwater runoff from urban, suburban, and agricultural areas. Experts recommend staying out of the water for 24 to 48 hours after a storm event due to the likelihood of elevated bacteria levels. Bacteria levels at specific river access sites can be found at

The Connecticut River and tributaries are monitored from southern Massachusetts to southern Vermont. Partner organizations include the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, the Connecticut River Watershed Council, Millers River Watershed Council, Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance, and Putney Rowing Club.

The weekly bacteria monitoring and the new website are a joint effort between the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and the Connecticut River Watershed Council. Funding is provided by a U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Targeted Watershed Initiative grant to PVPC and by Brown & Caldwell, CDM Smith, and the Community Foundation of Western Mass to CRC. Support in Vermont is provided by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. to CRC.

The website also has information about river access locations, fishing and fish consumption advisories, hiking and biking in the watershed, and general information about the condition of the river.