Our beaches are monitored daily and all our public swimming areas on Lake Champlain are tested twice a week for quality and safety.
This graph below tracks water quality tests and will be updated this summer as results come in. More details about the testing and closure procedures are described below.
Learn more about water quality of Lake Champlain
Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront samples all managed swimming areas at our parks when they are open for the season. We take samples at several locations twice a week, on Monday & Thursday. Samples are sent to certified labs and results come back in 24 hours, on Tuesday & Friday. Tests are done for e-coli which is an “indicator” bacteria. It is called an indicator because while it likely does not cause sickness itself, its presence could reflect the possible presence of other sickness causing organisms. Results are a calculated count , or “most probable number” of e-coli bacteria per 100 milliliter sample. If a sample at a beach area is higher than the EPA standard of 235 e-coli per 100 milliliter sample, that area will be closed to swimming, but can remain open to other activities. Affected sites then are tested daily and reopen to swimming once results return to acceptable levels.
Here you can find the raw data and results of these tests.
For more info about healthy recreational water go to: http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/water/recwater.aspx
Other safety concerns include blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) which occurs naturally in lakes. However, under the right conditions they form large accumulations – referred to as blooms – which can release toxins, making the water unsafe for swimming. Lake Champlain Committee (LCC) has developed an award-winning program to provide critical data on where and when blooms are happening. The organization works with citizens, businesses, farmers, communities, and governments to protect and restore lake health. LCC focuses on three strategic areas: clean water, a healthy lake and access to the lake. They also help monitor pollution, invasive species, bacteria, toxics, global warming and water conservation. Learn more on their website: http://www.lakechamplaincommittee.org
Click here to check current blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) tracker
Learn how to spot blue-green algae in this video:
You can also learn more about the health of Lake Champlain through The Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) which works in partnership with government agencies from New York, Vermont, and Québec, private organizations, local communities, and individuals to coordinate and fund efforts that benefit the Lake Champlain Basin’s water quality, fisheries, wetlands, wildlife, recreation, and cultural resources. Learn more at www.lcbp.org.
Read the Lake Champlain Basin Program’s 2015 State of the Lake report. The report informs the public and resource managers about Lake Champlain’s condition, including trends in key indicators of water quality and ecosystem health.