Fecal coliforms in Roaring Brook Lake


How are our beaches are monitored?  What does DOH closure mean?

Public beaches in Putnam County are monitored frequently by the DOH for fecal coliforms (e. coli).  E. coli levels are markers of contamination of lake water by sources such as failing septic systems, dog waste, or goose droppings.  If the Health Department finds a high level, the beach is closed and monitored closely until the level comes back to normal.

The levels are influenced by many things and are most often high after heavy rain, or conversely, when the weather is hot and dry. Heavy rains wash more fecal coliforms into the lake and can also overwhelm septic systems.  In hot dry conditions, by contrast,  bacteria may multiply more rapidly in the warm water.

We can all help to keep our beaches open and our water safe:

1.       No dogs are allowed on public beaches – it’s a good rule, obey it!

2.        Do not rake goose droppings into the lake. Pick up goose droppings (wear gloves) and deposit in the garbage. 

3.        Have your septic system pumped and inspected regularly

The Putnam County Dept of Health closed Park Beach on Saturday, June 18, 2016 because of elevated E. coli levels. DOH retested and the beach reopened for Sunday, June 19, 2016.

The swim beaches at Roaring Brook Lake are tested at regular intervals, every 2 – 3 weeks during the season. Levels of fecal coliforms above 1000 cfu/100 ml are considered to pose a risk for swimming. The level necessitating the June 18, 2016 closure at Park Beach was 1340 cfu/100 ml.

More information: Vermont DOH Swim Water Testing                                                         EPA Recreational Water Quality Criteria

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