On Wednesday, June 12th we started our annual RiverWatch Water Quality Monitoring program by driving to our 10 long term monitoring sites on the North and South Rivers in our new 15 passenger van with 9 new citizen science volunteers and our 3 summer college interns. The purpose of the RiverWatch Water Quality Monitoring program, which began in 1994, is to determine whether or not the sites along the North and South Rivers have exceeded bacterial colony concentration numbers for Massachusetts’ swimming and shellfishing standards. We use these data to document the long term health of our waters, to inform government agencies on the quality of our waters and advocate for improvements where needed. We also share this data with the public with a few important caveats; we are not a regulatory agency and these data are a snapshot of the water quality at the time they were taken, which was several days ago. Rain and other polluting events can impact the quality of the water at any time.  

For Wednesday June 10, 2024, the water at Driftway Park, North River Marine, Damon’s Point, North River Mouth, and Julian Street Bridge were all well below the Massachusetts’ swimming standards (i.e. safe for swimming).  According to Massachusetts’ swimming standards, Enterococcus levels may not exceed 104 colony forming units (CFU) per 100mL of water for a single sample event. Results from the 4 other sites were inconclusive. At these sites care should be taken when considering swimming since these sites have been known to exceed the safe swimming standards in past years. 

Please note that all shellfish beds in the North and South Rivers are closed from May 31 until November 1. The next round of sampling will be conducted on Wednesday, June 26. 

We would like to thank our RiverWatch citizen science volunteers and summer interns for conducting the sampling and analysis, the Cohasset Center for Student Coastal Research for allowing us to use their laboratory for sample processing and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the Norwell Women’s Club and our members for providing funding for this program. Thank you! 

Read more about RiverWatch.