RiverWatch Water Quality Monitoring


Few Sites Above Standards Despite Preceding Heavy Rain

The most recent water quality samples for our Riverwatch program were taken on Thursday, July 19th, and there was one sample above the swimming standard for enterococcus at Washington Street Bridge, and one sample above the shellfish standard for fecal coliform within the designated shellfish growing area, at North River Marine. One inch of rain fell within the previous 48 hours of the testing so while higher counts were expected, the amount by which the standards were exceeded was actually minimal compared to tests in previous years.

What are We Concerned About in the North and South Rivers?

Here in the North and South Rivers, our biggest concern is the bacteria brought in by stormwater runoff. In the past, poor treatment of wastewater would be to blame, but we have worked with surrounding towns to support their efforts to eliminate polluted discharge from their sewage treatment plants. Since then, bacterial counts have been dramatically decreased! But, the issue of bacteria brought in by stormwater runoff still remains, affecting our shellfish beds and the ability for our rivers to be fishable and swimmable throughout the year!

How Does Bacteria Affect Shellfish?

You know what they say: You are what you eat! In the case of shellfish living in bacteria polluted water, this spells trouble for those of us who enjoy fishing the shellfish beds in the North and South Rivers. Shellfish are filter-feeders. This means that they filter the water around them in order to feed off of the bacteria and microscopic algae natural in their waters. When harmful bacteria is introduced the shellfish consume it, and in turn, humans ingest it when we enjoy those shellfish for lunch. This can make us very sick depending on what bacteria was in the water. Thus, for our safety, when bacterial counts are high, the shellfish beds must be closed.

Volunteer to Monitor Water Quality
Please sign up for all available dates and we will schedule you! RiverWatch typically takes about 3-3.5 hours, and you will visit 10 sampling sites along the North and South Rivers.

Click here to sign up.

Thank You to the Norwell Women’s Club for Sponsoring Two Weeks of Water Quality Testing!

NSRWA Executive Director Samantha Woods accepts a $1,000 donation from Shannon Toland of the Norwell Women’s Club. The donation helps to support the RiverWatch Water Quality Monitoring program and will be used to help pay the costs of water sample analysis. Thank you Norwell Women’s Club! If you would like to sponsor a week of testing, contact Gabriela Silva at gabriela@nsrwa.org.