Earlier in the summer, the VT Health Department reported high levels of e coli in popular swimming areas, which were thought to be related to tropical storm Irene. High levels of e coli can cause serious health problems, particularly for children, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems (such as those living with AIDS, those who have received an organ transplant, or those receiving certain types of chemotherapy). A swimming area that has E. coli levels that exceed the EPA quality standards of 235 organisms per 100 mls should not be used until levels drop below that standard.
Thanks to Kelly Stettner and Black River Action Team (BRAT), the popular swimming hole by the Depot Street Trestle Bridge in Proctorsville was tested last week for e- coli. The test result showed e coli levels of 96 per 100 mls, which shows safe conditions for swimming. Stettner recommends that For THIS summer, I'd caution anyone against swimming right after a big rain (the storms tend to "flush" all sorts of things into the water, from herbicides to animal waste. Give it a day or two to calm down.
To continue this testing throughout the summer, donations and volunteers are needed. If I can get a volunteer or two to help, and some donations to offset the cost of the testing ($25 per test), we can come sample that every week. I could do it once a week before work, but we'd have to get the $25 per test covered. I will check BRAT funds and see how we're doing; seven more weeks of summer or eight, that'd run about $200. I'm looking for a local business, individual, or organization that would be interested in our Adopt-the-River campaign. For $500 a year, they could officially adopt that swimming hole and it would cover the weekly e.coli testing. Results could be posted on your FB page, my FB page, my BRAT site, and maybe there could be a sign on the beach or side of the trestle bridge telling bathers about the program and where to log on to find the data.
You can help/donate in one of the following ways:
• Donate at the website via Pay Pal http://blackriveractionteam.org/wp/contact/
• If you would like your donation to be tax deductible, you should mail it to the CRWC with “BRAT” noted in the memo section. The mailing address is CRWC, 15 Bank Row, Greenfield, MA 01301
• Send a check to BRAT, 101 Perley Gordon Rd, Springfield, VT 05156
• Contact Kelly if you can volunteer and/or your business is willing to adopt the swimming firstname.lastname@example.org or (802) 885-1533