Water Quality

The Friends water quality program includes instream and stormwater outfall monitoring.  

2016 Water Quality Monitoring Volunteer Program

Want to get involved in a great hands-on project this summer? Join our Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring team! Volunteers collect stream samples on a biweekly basis throughout the summer in the Cabot/Marshfield/Plainfield, Barre/Montpelier, and greater Burlington areas. These samples are then sent to a lab and analyzed to determine E. coli, chloride, alkalinity, phosphorus, nitrogen, and turbidity levels.

Our 2016 field season begins in mid-June with a free training and runs through the end of August.  Sample collection occurs between 5:30 and 8 am and takes approximately 15 minutes per site.  Volunteers can sample one or more sites on as many of the sampling days as they like.  No experience necessary.

**Training for the Barre/Montpelier sample area will be held on June 14th at the North Branch Nature Center beginning at 6pm. No RSVP necessary. First sampling date is July 5th.

This is important work. Water quality monitoring plays an important role in keeping the public informed about water quality issues and promoting stewardship of our watershed. Furthermore, this valuable data has the power to influence water quality improvements and shape public policy. You can find out more about the program below. Please sign up using the contact form on our website.

 

Instream Monitoring Overview

Volunteer water quality monitoring plays an important role in educating the public about water quality issues and promoting stewardship of water resources. Volunteer monitoring can go beyond education to identify specific problems, measure progress toward water quality improvements and shape public policy. Data collected by volunteers may be used by local and state government for decision-making and enforcement. Currently the Friends are working with volunteers in the Headwaters area (above the confluence with the Kingsbury Branch); through the Four Rivers Partnership and with the Chittenden County Stream Team.

Headwaters: Since 2007, the Cabot Conservation Committee and the Marshfield and Plainfield Conservation Commissions have worked together with the Friends and other members of the Winooski Headwaters Community Partnership to monitor water quality in their towns. Commission members along with other volunteers have collected data for a number of water quality parameters including bacteria.

Four Rivers: In 2008, the Friends and many other partners formed the Four Rivers Partnership. The goal of this partnership is to work together to protect and restore the Winooski watershed between the Kingsbury Branch and Dog River including the subwatersheds of the Stevens and North Branch. This group will be monitoring sites on the Winooski River, North Branch, Stevens Branch and Jail Branch in 2010. This community-based volunteer water quality monitoring program complements the work of the three high schools in the area (U32, Montpelier and Spaulding).

Chittenden County Stream Team: Since 2012, the Friends have organized a water quality monitoring program for the Chittenden County Stream Team.  The CCST is  a project to engage citizens across an eight-town area (Burlington, Essex, Essex Junction, Milton, Shelburne, South Burlington, Williston & Winooski) to implement projects to reduce non-point source pollution and stormwater volume at the local level.

Water Quality Monitoring Results

Headwaters:

2015 Headwaters Report
2014 Headwaters Report
2013 Headwaters Report
2012 Headwaters Report
2011 Headwaters Report
2010 Headwaters Report 
2009 Headwaters Data
2008 Headwaters Report
2007 Headwaters Report

Four Rivers Partnership Area (Barre-Montpelier includes sites on North and Stevens Branch, the Dog River and the Winooski River)

2015 Four Rivers Report
2014 Four Rivers Report
2013 Four Rivers Report
2012 Four Rivers Report
2011 Four Rivers Report
2010 Four Rivers Report

Chittenden County Stream Team

2015 CCST Report
2014 CCST Report
2013 CCST Report
2012 CCST Report

 

Stormwater Outfall Monitoring OverviewPhoto copyright: Times Argus

The stormwater drainage systems are designed to collect and convey only precipitation and snow melt. However, for various reasons, other water sources and associated contaminants may enter the system. These ‘illicit discharges’ may be the result of either direct or indirect connections. Examples of direct connections include:

  • wastewater piping either mistakenly or deliberately connected to the stormdrain system;
  • a shop floor drain that is connected to the stormdrain system; and a cross-connection between the sanitary sewer and stormdrain system.

Examples of indirect connections include:

  • infiltration into the stormdrain system from a leaking sanitary sewer line;
  • infiltration or surface discharge into the stormdrain system from a failed septic system;
  • a spill flowing to a catchbasin;
  • and materials (e.g., paint or used oil) dumped directly into a catchbasin.

The Friends have conducted studies and worked with the Public Works Departments in Montpelier, Barre, Northfield, Richmond, Waterbury and Berlin to locate and correct sources of pollutants in the storm water drainage system. You can access the reports online.

Montpelier/Northfield/Berlin Report
Barre City Report
Richmond/Waterbury Report
Stevens Branch/Stowe Report

                                                                                                                                                                                                               Photo copyright: Times Argus