People who visit the Mystic River and its tributaries have a new, more precise way to find out how healthy the water is near them. Last summer, the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) worked with the Environmental Protection Agence (EPA) to create a new location-based “report card” for the Mystic River.
The grades are based on bacteria counts. The state has maximum allowable bacteria counts for swimming and boating. High bacteria counts result from illicit sewer discharges to storm drain systems and urban stormwater runoff. A higher grade indicates that the waterway complies with state standards; a lower grade means that there’s more bacteria in the water that could make you sick.
Belmont’s local waterways do not fare well in the 2014 report card. Little River and Winn’s Brook earn an F for meeting state standards 40% or less of the time, while nearby Alewife Brook got a D for meeting boating standards just 46% of the time. While Belmont may have excellent schools and high-achieving residents, when it comes to water quality, Belmont is definitely an underperformer.