Water Tests Show High E-Coli in Winooski River Not Related to Ammonia Spill


DATE: July 22, 2005

CONTACT: Communication Office

BURLINGTON – A second round of water samples taken Thursday from the Winooski River by the Vermont Department of Health, above and below the site of an ammonia spill from the Cabot Creamery four days ago, revealed high e-coli levels.

Water sample e-coli levels from Cabot (109), Plainfield (200), and both samples from E. Montpelier (118 and 95) were above 77, the level designated safe for swimming. Above Cabot (56) and in Marshfield (59) the levels were below 70.

“There is no reason to believe the high e-coli readings are related to the ammonia spill,” said Larry Crist, director of Health Protection for the Vermont Department of Health. “The high readings do not alter our recommendations on swimming precautions. Swim only in designated beaches and swimming areas. Those areas are tested by local health officials and are generally safe to enjoy.”

The Winooski river has no public swim areas. The Health Department recommends that people do not swim in the Winooski river.

Posted areas along the river in Cabot, Marshfield and Plainfield will remain in place. The Health Department will continue to work cooperatively with partner agencies and continue to monitor for any public health concern.