Water Testing & Related Communications Protocol
for Richmond Pond Beaches & Tributaries Testing
The five beaches tested are Richmond Town Beach, Lakeside Christian Camp Beach, South Pond Farm Beach, Camp Russell Beach, and Richmond Shores Beach.
The five tributaries tested are: Inlet (passes under road @ Richmond Shores); Clark Brook (aka Mount Lebanon Brook, between boat launch & town beach); Outlet (the dam @ Lakeside Christian Camp); Tracy Brook (@ former Camp Marion White property); Whitewood Brook (southeast corner of the lake).
Measures tested: Beaches are tested for E.coli; Lakeside Christian Camp also tests for atypical bacteria. Tributaries are tested for E.coli, Fecal Coliform and Phosphorus. Prior to 2014, the Richmond Pond Association conducted a wider range of test measures for each sample (Alkalinity, Nitrate-Nitrite, Total Phosphorus, pH, Total Coliform, Fecal Coliform, and e.Coli), for the 4 tributaries except the outlet, and has maintained historical data on test results for those measures. While there are no standards in the state regulations for Total Phosphorus, Dissolved Oxygen or pH, and these measures do not impact beach closures, it is desirable for overall pond health that Total Phosphorus/mg/l. should test below 0.010, Dissolved Oxygen should test between 3-10 mg/l., and pH should test between 6-8.
State requirements; For public & semi-public fresh water beaches, the relevant state requirements (445.031: Indicator Organisms, 445.032: Collection of Bathing Water Samples, & 445.040: Posting & Reopening Notifications) are excerpted here: “No single E.coli sample shall exceed 235 colonies per 100 ml., and the geometric mean of the most recent five E.coli samples within the same bathing season shall not exceed 126 colonies per 100 ml...” “Whenever the bathing water quality does not meet the requirements of 105 CMR 445.030, 105 CMR 445.032, or after any significant rainstorm at a bathing beach where there has been a history of violations of the water quality requirements in 105 CMR 445.030, the Board of Health, its agent, or any other authorized person shall immediately, and in no event later than 24 hours, notify of the Department (of Public Health), and post or cause to be posted, a sign, or signs, at the entrance to each parking lot and each entrance to the beach stating: WARNING! NO SWIMMING. SWIMMING MAY CAUSE ILLNESS and a graphic depiction of a swimmer in a red circle with a diagonal hash mark. The sign shall also contain the reason for the warning, the date of the posting, and the name and telephone number of the board of health.” “Prior to reopening bathing water posted due to a violation (of these standards), the Board of Health, its agent, or any other authorized person shall verify that the certified results of the laboratory analysis are less than the standard specified in CMR 445.031...(and) that conditions no longer constitute a threat to human health or safety.”
State regulations only cover public and semi-public bathing beaches; there are no state requirements for private beaches or tributaries.
Notification protocols & responsibilities – The good news is that our lake is healthy, though some beaches or tributaries occasional test above allowable limits, especially after heavy rains or when geese proliferate and congregate. It is acknowledged that if one beach on the lake tests above allowable limits for swimming, it is likely that other nearby parts of the lake may likewise be unsafe for swimming. It is also recognized that some residents around the lake and visitors to the lake do not utilize the above-listed beaches, but swim at the shores of their own properties or from boats on the lake. Therefore, notifications about beach closings should go beyond merely posting a notice at the shore of the beach in question.
Appropriate additional notification procedures are therefore under development through collaborative efforts involving the above agencies, to get the word out quickly and more widely to those who may be impacted. The town, camp, or association that obtains test results that exceed allowable swimming measures is responsible for immediately posting the related beach & notifying its likely users of the closure. Such entity is also asked to immediately notify the Richmond Town Administrator, who may generate a targeted email alert to residents in that area, place a related notice at the public boat launch, & take other measures that appear to be indicated, possibly to include a request to the Richmond Pond Association to send an email blast to RPA website subscribers.
Note - Chart in the separate protocol file depicts testing locations, responsibility for testing, analysis lab used, frequency of testing, & measures tested.
Working Draft Protocol - Updated November 2016