Passed water quality tests 60-95% of the time
This status is based on the latest sample, take on September 13th, 2023 Potomac Riverkeeper updates the status of this beach as soon as test results become available. These results were posted to Swim Guide on September 14th at 3:56 PM.
UPR-5 Big Slackwater Boat Ramp Potomac River is sampled Weekly from May 1st to October 1st
Source Information A “green” rating demonstrates that the level of E. coli at the time of sampling falls beneath the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality primary contact water quality safety standards. The VA Primary Contact Water Quality Standards are as follows: • E. coli single sample value = 235 MPN/100mL • E. coli geometric mean = 126 MPN/100mL Potomac sites that are under VA or MD jurisdiction are rated against these Virginia values. We are utilizing the Virginia standards because they are more protective of public health for individuals swimming or otherwise in primary contact with the water than Maryland’s standards. For the first 5 consecutive weeks, single sample values will be compared against the single sample standard of 235 MPN. After 5 consecutive weeks, the geometric mean will be calculated and compared to the 126 MPN value to determine a pass or fail status. Samples are rated “green” if they fall below these values. Samples over the standard are considered "red" due to their failure to meet criteria, and the increased risk of illness. A red "special status" update indicates an abnormal situation such as a severe weather event, construction activity, or a combined sewage overflow (CSO) in the past 48 hours. This status means it is extremely likely there are unsafe levels of bacteria in the river, and it is recommended to be extra cautious if you are close to the river or come in contact with the water. Upper Potomac Riverkeeper, interns, and volunteers monitor water quality at several locations along the Upper Potomac River in partnership with Hood College and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. Monitoring occurs every week from May through September. Parameters to be monitored include E.Coli, total coliform, pH, and temperature. Detailed monitoring results can be found through the Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative's Data Explorer, https://cmc.vims.edu/#/home The primary parameter of concern is E. coli, a fecal coliform. E. coli is measured in terms of the Most Probable Number /100 ml water and are indicators of fecal contamination by warm-blooded animals including birds and mammals. Sampling sites along the Potomac fall within several jurisdictions and monitoring programs. Each jurisdiction has defined their own water quality standards and each program uses its own method for determining a pass or fail site status. Water quality standards as well as the methods used to determine pass or fail status vary widely across jurisdictions and monitoring programs. We encourage users to explore the sample data in addition to checking the swim guide status. These data can be viewed through the Chesapeake Monitoring Collaborative Data Explorer, https://cmc.vims.edu/#/home
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