May 2020 Water Quality Report (CWMN)

We continue to collect valuable water quality data in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions by implementing enhanced safety procedures to keep our volunteers and staff safe. 

The 2020 Citizen Water Monitoring Network (CWMN) program is off to a great start. We thank our resilient volunteers who have adapted to meet new safety protocols including virtual training.

We also had a “changing of the guard” in June when the 2019 NepRWA Environmental Fellowship position ended. We’re happy to report that Kelly DiStefano will continue her career in environmental science with a new position at Triumvirate Environmental, and we welcome our 2020 Environmental Fellow, Declan Devine, who will manage the CWMN Program for the remainder of the season.

E. coli Results

E. coli is a bacteria that often indicates contamination from human and animal waste. The bacteria associated with this waste can make people sick. In May, 93% of sample sites met the EPA standard for swimming while 100% of the sites met the boating standard! The E. coli levels across the watershed were generally lower than the May levels in past years. These low levels are likely in part due to the dry weather in the days leading up to sampling. The only sites not meeting the swimming standard were Meadow Brook at Sunnyside Rd., Pine Tree Brook at Central Ave. and Mine Brook at Nebo St. The map and graph below summarize the results.

Follow this link to a list of CWMN site descriptions.



Phosphorus Results 

Phosphorus is a key nutrient for plants and is a large component of most fertilizers. Unfortunately, when fertilizer washes off lawns it can end up in streams and ponds. Too much phosphorus can lead to harmful algal blooms, cyanobacteria blooms and fish kills. In May, 24% of the stream samples had more than the acceptable amount of phosphorus. All four ponds tested exceeded the EPA standard for healthy phosphorous levels in ponds. For tips on how to reduce your phosphorus impact on the river visit The graph below summarizes the results. 


Dissolved Oxygen Results 

Dissolved oxygen has been referred to as the “air” fish breath underwater. If the concentrations of oxygen in the water get too low fish and other aquatic organisms can not survive. Low dissolved oxygen is often the result of too much algae or nutrients in the water body. 97% of the sites sampled had water with healthy levels of dissolved oxygen! This is great news for fish and aquatic insects. The results are summarized in the graph below. 


Thank you to all the dedicated volunteers who make up the backbone of the CWMN program! If you have any questions about the CWMN results, please contact NepRWA Environmental Fellow, Declan Devine, at 

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