Water Quality Notification Program - Charles River Watershed Association

Water Quality Results - Region 1

Newton Yacht Club, Watertown Yacht Club, Community Rowing, Inc., Northeastern's Henderson and Charles River Canoe and Kayak at Herter Park

Sample Date

(colonies /100mL)
Previous Day's Rainfall
 06/26/2018 3200  0
 06/28/2018   250  0
07/03/2018   170  0
07/05/2018   220  0
07/10/2018   180  0
07/12/2018    80  0
07/17/2018   340  0

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Water Quality Results - Region 2

Harvard's Weld Boathouse

Sample Date

(colonies /100mL)
Previous Day's Rainfall
 06/26/2018  1530 0
06/28/2018    389  0
  07/03/2018       60  0
 07/05/2018     140  0
07/10/2018      50  0
07/12/2018      50  0
07/17/2018     20 0

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Water Quality Results - Region 3

Riverside Boat Club

Sample Date

(colonies /100mL)
Previous Day's Rainfall
 06/26/2018 320  0
 06/28/2018 130  0
 07/03/2018     20   0
 07/05/2018    60  0
07/10/2018   60  0
07/12/2018   70  0
07/17/2018   50  0


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Water Quality Results - Region 4

Charles River Yacht Club, Union Boat Club, Community Boating, and Charles River Canoe and Kayak at Kendall Square

Sample Date

(colonies /100mL)
Previous Day's Rainfall
06/26/2018  120 0
06/28/2018   40 0
07/03/2018     20  0
07/05/2018   20 0
07/10/2018 - 0
07/12/2018 40 0
07/17/2018 20 0


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About Daily Water Quality Program Data

Every year from July through October, CRWA provides daily public notifications of water quality conditions in the Charles River Lower Basin, from Watertown to Boston Harbor. Through a system of color-coded flags, CRWA informs Charles River recreationalists when the river is safe for boating, or when a public health threat may be present due to bacterial contamination or cyanobacteria (blue-green algae).

E. coli bacteria

The presence of E. coli bacteria in water suggests contamination by sewage, which could mean disease-causing bacteria or viruses are present. High bacteria concentrations are typically observed after periods of heavy rainfall, when storm drains and sewer systems overflow and discharge pollutants into the river.

CRWA has developed mathematical models to estimate the probability of the Charles River exceeding the state's water quality standard for secondary contact recreation, or boating.  The state boating standard for E.coli bacteria is 1,260 colony forming units per 100 milliliters of water (cfu/100 mL).  Originally created by CRWA and Tufts University, the models use recent rainfall and river conditions to predict water quality violations and are updated periodically by CRWA. In addition, CRWA collects river samples weekly, which are analyzed for E.coli contamination to verify model predictions. 

Cyanobacteria (Blue-Green Algae)

CRWA estimates health risks due to blooms of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) based on weekly monitoring and communication with public health officials. Some types of cyanobacteria can produce toxins that can cause skin irritations and other health problems. Cyanobacteria concentrations in the Charles River Lower Basin are far less variable than E. coli concentrations. 

Massachusetts Environmental Trust

This project is generously funded in part by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust.

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About Water Quality Notification

About Field Science

Project Manager

Elisabeth Cianciola - Charles River Watershed Association
Elisabeth Cianciola
Aquatic Scientist
Bio | 781.788.0007 x231 | 

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