Bacteria levels are found safe for swimming

Submitted to Dorchester Banner/Choptank RiverKeeper
Researchers check bacteria levels in the Choptank River every week during the summer.

CAMBRIDGE — Researchers with Choptank RiverKeeper have found bacteria levels at several locations to be safe for swimmers.
“For those of you just tuning in, we sample bacteria levels at local swimming spots around the river weekly throughout the season and post the results every Friday to help the public determine safe swimming conditions,” a statement from the group said. “Visit for more information, and join the monitoring campaign by following #SwimmableShoreRivers.”

• Sailwinds Beach – PASS
• Hambrooks Bay Beach – PASS
• Bill Burton Beach – PASS
• Denton – PASS
• The Strand, Oxford – PASS
• Bellevue Beach – PASS

“It’s important to note that we did have a significant amount of rain since these samples were collected and we know that bacteria levels increase from runoff after large rain events,” the statement said.

“Please note that there are inherent risks associated with open water swimming and recreational contact including, but not limited to, bacterial infections,” Choptank RiverKeepers said. “The bacteria we test for (enterococci) is a form of fecal bacteria that comes from human and animal waste and at failing levels can cause diarrhea, ear infections, stomach issues and other digestive problems. This is not a test for Vibrio.”

Bacteria levels represent the conditions at the time the sample is collected and levels can change, particularly as a result of significant rain events.
Always rinse off after swimming in the river, never swim with open wounds, avoid water contact for 24-48 hours after a significant rain event, and always obey signage and local laws whenever swimming in open water.

ShoreRivers utilizes the standardized EPA recreational swimming criteria of 104 cfu/100 ml for a single sample and 35 cfu/100 ml for the geometric mean calculated from multiple samples for determining passing and failing levels.