Where you should and should not swim in the Connecticut River

Water samples are tested for E.Coli bacteria and pathogens that can make you sick

french king bridge
The French King Bridge over the Connecticut River between Gill and Erving. WWLP file image

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Connecticut River Conservancy has begun their water sampling program just ahead of the summer season, and it’ll help you determine where you should and should not go swimming.

For the next couple of months, the CRC will test water samples for bacteria and pathogens at more than 140 water access and recreation sites along the Connecticut River in northern Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Boaters and swimmers will be able to quickly access the results of the weekly or bi-weekly tests online before heading out to the water.

The CRC will designate areas of the Connecticut River they’ve tested as:

  • Not clean for boating or swimming
  • Clean for boating
  • Clean for swimming
  • Clean for boating and swimming

The website will also provide this information for more than 20 tributaries, including the Chicopee River, and the Mill River in Northampton.

According to the CRC, it’s best to avoid swimming right after heavy rain and to always cover open cuts and use ear and nose plugs, since bacteria levels are typically higher during and after wet weather.

“When weather gets warm, people head to our rivers to cool off and have fun, and they want to know if our rivers are clean. The data tells us that it is a good idea to stay out of the water for 24-48 hours after a heavy rain because bacteria levels could be high,” says CRC River Steward Alicea Charamut. “Heavy rain is often the cause of high bacteria levels. Bacteria can spike after a storm due to combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and polluted stormwater runoff from urban, suburban, and agricultural areas.”

You can access water sample test results all summer long by clicking here.