Notice of Water Quality
During periods of heavy rain, and for several hours afterwards, elevated bacteria levels in the river may pose a heath risk.
Any time there is significant rainfall, surface receiving waters may be affected by elevated bacteria levels caused by rain water run-off. Levels of bacteria can rise significantly in the Merrimack and Concord rivers during and after rainstorms. Elevated levels of bacteria may continue for a period of up to 24 hours, depending upon the intensity of the rain and the volume of runoff. Elevated bacteria levels in water pose a heath risk. The Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility and the City of Lowell Board of Health recommend that beach / river users avoid contact with river water for a period of 24 hours after rainfall ends.
Under Mass Law (MGL C 111 sec. 5S), a beach must be closed by the local board of health within 24 hours if that beach doesn’t meet water quality standards. The City of Lowell tests its beaches once a week. A beach is closed if there are elevated bacteria levels, as determined by tests conducted by the Lowell Regional Water Utility. During times of elevated bacteria levels, water contact may cause someone to become ill. When a beach is closed, the City of Lowell Board of Health advises beach users to avoid contact with surface water in the closure area where closure signs are posted.
A warning sign is posted any time that Massachusetts water quality bacteriological standards are exceeded. Elevated bacteria levels in river water may pose a heath risk. The City of Lowell Board of Health advises receiving water users to avoid contact with these waters where warning signs are posted. Warning signs are usually posted 25 yards on either side of a sampling site where bacteria levels have exceeded State standards.