Vermont is home to thousands of fresh water lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. Our waters are a great destination for everything from swimming to fishing to boating and tubing.
Healthy Recreational Waters is designed to provide guidance to the managers and users of Vermont’s recreational lakes, ponds, streams and rivers. All of us have a role to play in keeping our recreational waters a safe and healthy place for everyone.
This guidance was developed with assistance from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.
- What are healthy beaches?
- How can water become contaminated with bacteria?
- How are Vermont beaches monitored and tested?
- What can I do to help keep beaches healthy?
- What can I do to protect my health?
- What does an advisory or beach closing mean?
- For more information
Healthy beaches are both safe and clean. But beaches and other swimming areas do not stay healthy all the time. Many factors can influence the overall health and safety of recreational waters: bacterial contamination, chemical spills, storm water runoff, harmful algae blooms, physical hazards, etc.
One major source of harmful bacterial is fecal contamination, which can come from diapers, feces from people, pets or wildlife, malfunctioning septic systems, storm water runoff and sewage treatment overflows.
Vermont State Parks follow the Health Department’s Guidelines for Healthy Beaches. Swimming areas are sampled before the start of the swimming season and then at least once a week, depending the conditions of the water body.
Municipal or non-profit managed public swimming areas should be monitored regularly according to the Vermont Department of Health’s Healthy Recreational Waters Guidelines.
- Properly dispose of litter/animal wastes.
- Do not go swimming if you are feeling ill – especially if you have diarrhea.
- Do not feed birds or other wildlife on or near swimming areas.
- Do not dump anything in a storm drain.
- Report any suspected pollution event to beach management.
- Heed posted advisories or closings.
- Do not swallow beach water and try not to get it in your mouth.
- Stay out of the water 48 hours following a significant rain event.
- Shower after swimming.
- Wash hands before eating.
- Do not go in the water if you have diarrhea.
This sign is posted during all normal water quality conditions. It reminds bathers that the water is routinely monitored, and provides local contact information for the swimming area.
This sign is posted during or right after a heavy rainfall event of more than ½ inch over a 24-‐hour period. This sign should remain posted for at least 24 hours after a heavy rainfall event, or E. coli sample results are less than 235 cfu per 100 ml. Local contact information is provided.
This sign is posted when E. coli sample results are greater than 235 cfu per 100 ml. This sign should remain posted until sample results are less than 235 cfu per 100 ml. The beach should be closed to swimming when this sign is posted.