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There is a rope swing on the Mill River in Northampton located along the path that goes between Smith College and Federal Street which is commonly used as a swimming hole and dog swimming area. On Thursdays, between the months of June and October, volunteers coordinated by the Connecticut River Watershed Council take samples of the water which are then tested for the amount of E. coli bacteria.
If the results from the water samples come back with elevated E.coli bacteria, which are beyond the permissible limits for safety, the Health Department will post the area with an advisory. Bacteria levels are typically elevated during wet weather events and good precautions to take include avoiding swimming right after a heavy rain. Beyond the health concerns that E.coli bacteria can make you sick with stomach pains, rashes, breathing problems, diarrhea, or other intestinal problems, swimmers should also be mindful to only swim in areas that match their abilities and be aware of depths, obstructions and current.
Results from the water samples taken on July 24, 2014 are below. The amount of bacteria present in the water sample are elevated to a level which is not safe for swimming. An advisory was posted at the swimming area on July 25, 2014.
FLAG Sample Date Status CFU/100ml RED 2014-07-24 Not Clean for Boating or Swimming >2419.6
Parameters:FLAG RECREATION THRESHOLD BACTERiA COUNTBLUE Clean for swimming and boating <235 cfu/100 mlYELLOW Clean for boating only 235 - 575 cfu/100 mlRED Not clean for swimming or boating >575 cfu/100 ml