Coastal Rivers volunteers monitor water quality at area swim beaches

Coastal Rivers volunteers monitor water quality at area swim beaches

volunteer calibrating measuring device

Coastal Rivers volunteer Debby Carroll calibrates a salinity measuring device.

Nine water quality volunteers for Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust attended a Healthy Beaches training recently to go over the proper use of tools and protocol for taking water samples.

As a service to the community, Coastal Rivers monitors the water at three area swim beaches for pathogenic contamination. Trained volunteers test weekly for Enterococci at Pemaquid Beach, and for E. coli at the Bristol Mills swimming hole and Biscay Beach. Two of the volunteers have been testing the water at Pemaquid Beach for over 15 years.

Data are reported to the towns of Bristol and Damariscotta, which manage the swim areas, and Coastal Rivers helps the towns post advisories if levels of contamination are unhealthy.

The water quality monitoring at Pemaquid Beach is done in collaboration with the Maine Healthy Beaches Program, part of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, which covers the cost of the water testing. Testing is done by the laboratory at the City of Rockland’s wastewater treatment facility.

Coastal Rivers collects samples at the two fresh water swim areas, Bristol Mills and Biscay Beach, independently and covers the fees to have the samples tested at a lab in Rockland.