Expanded Eastern Shore Water Testing Tells When it’s Safe to Swim

ShoreRivers, the waterkeeeper organization that ovesees Maryland’s mid-Eastern shore, will test the water for bacteria every week of the summer swimming season.

An expanded testing program will allow ShoreRivers to check the water in 25 locations for Enterococci, an indicator for human illness-causing pathogens. The bacteria can come from failing septic systems, sewer overflows or leaks, poultry and livestock operations, improper disposal from marine tanks, and pet waste.

ShoreRivers will test popular swim sites weekly until Labor Day: five sites on the Choptank River, two sites in Eastern Bay, one site on the Wye River, two sites on the Miles River, twelve sites on the Chester River, and three sites on the Sassafras River.

Here is ShoreRivers’ list of testing sites:

Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park Beach, Oxford Strand, Bellevue Beach, Sailwinds Park Beach, Great Marsh Park, Claiborne Beach, Broad Cove, Drum Point Beach on Wye Island, Miles River Yacht Club, Tunis Mills Landing, Duck Neck, Morgan Creek, Rosin Creek, Chestertown Marina, Chester River Yacht and Country Club, Rolphs Wharf , Camp Pecometh, Langford Bay, Grays Inn Creek, Conquest Beach, Corsica River Yacht Club, Centreville Wharf, Georgetown Bridge, Dyer Creek, and Indian Acres.

ShoreRivers cautions that during significant rainfalls, there is always a possibility that bacteria will rise to an unsafe level: “As a general precaution, it is recommended to avoid water contact for 48 hours after profuse rain events or any time if you have an open cut or wound. Always shower after swimming.”

You can check the water testing results for local swimming spots anytime using the SwimGuide website and smart phone app. The new testing is supported by Royal Bank of Canada, Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth, TriCycle and Run, Dorchester County, and community donations.

-Meg Walburn Viviano