Water Quality Monitoring Program
One of the tests that we do every two weeks is a test for E-coli bacteria. E-coli bacteria can cause ear infections, eye infections, and diarrhea in people who come in close contact with the water. The state of NH requires that swimming areas have an E-coli count of 88 colonies/100 ml. of water or less.
Besides our normal biweekly river tests, SWA is now testing the river at Watsons Park in Merrimack and posting the results at the kiosk and near the swimming area every week. Look for blue, yellow, or red flags to indicate E. coli levels.
For more information on testing for E-coli and other water-borne pathogens, visit US Environmental Protection Agency's site on Recreational Water Quality Criteria and Methods. Note that the New Hampshire standard for safe water for swimming (88 colonies/100 milliliters of water) is more conservative than that established by the US Environmental Protection Agency (126 colonies/100 milliliters of water) for river water in general.
Become a Volunteer Monitor
River Quality Monitoring Begins Each Year in June and Ends in September Volunteers Always Needed!
If you are interested in helping the Water Quality Monitoring Program, contact email@example.com. Being a monitor requires no special skills. The most difficult part is that you have to make it to your site once every two weeks between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. (on a Tuesday) and then transport your samples to one of several drop off points before 9 a.m. Sampling takes about 15-20 minutes at the river.
SWA provides all the training and supplies the equipment needed for sampling. You will be assigned one specific site to adopt for the season. All of the monitors communicate with email.
Additional testing opportunities are also available for volunteers interested in doing macroinvertibrate sampling at various sites along both rivers. This involves collecting bugs and identifying them by pollution tolerance. You can check to see what this entails here.
Past Testing Results Available
- "Merrimack River Watershed Council, Nashua Monitoring Project, 1991-1995 Summary Report".
- Souhegan and Merrimack Rivers Water Monitoring Project, 1997 Report, A Cooperative Project of the Souhegan Watershed Association and the Lower Merrimack River Local Advisory Committee, November 30, 1997
- Souhegan and Merrimack Rivers Water Monitoring Project, 1998 Report.
The most recent testing results as well as reports of past seasons' testing are available on the testing results page.