Aug. 30: After Irene, very high bacteria levels throughout rivers
As expected, bacteria counts found Tuesday by volunteers on the Souhegan and Merrimack rivers were extremely high at almost all locations because of debris and organic material being washed into the rivers by Tropical Storm Irene.
Virtually every one of the two dozen sites reported bacteria counts at least twice the level at which swimming isn’t recommended. Even the normally clean Merrimack River wasn’t suitable for swimming.
Bacteria levels typically rise after rainfall because of material washed into the river. They are likely to return to normal by next week.
Very high water levels were reported: The level in the Souhegan River was 20-25 times normal for this time of year.
Volunteers reported branches, trees and other material floating in the river; at least one dock was damaged heavily.
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