Summer is here! Grab your sunscreen, hat, beach towel, and check the Swim Guide! Wait, Swim Guide? You heard me right! Before swimming, water-skiing, or tubing in the river, make sure it is safe to swim.
Now, there is an easy way to stay healthy and informed. Download the Swim Guide Mobile App, an online tool and smartphone app to display local bacteria monitoring data, and check local bacteria data for the South, West, and Rhode Rivers anytime, anywhere.
The Swim Guide was launched in Anne Arundel County today by the South River Federation and the West/Rhode Riverkeeper in conjunction with the Waterkeeper Alliance’s “Swimmable Action Day.” The launching of this mobile app today, celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act with Swimmable Action Day. The focus of the Swimmable Action Day is to encourage citizens to celebrate their right to clean, swimmable waters and to promote the importance of the Clean Water Act, established in 1972, in protecting our local waterways.
The Swim Guide utilizes water quality monitoring data from government authorities and other organizations conducting routine testing to determine the water quality at nearly 2,500 beaches in the United States. Local testing locations on the West, Rhode, and South Rivers are updated weekly during the swimming season – Memorial Day through Labor Day. The Swim Guide is simple. Green is safe while red locations are not safe for swimming. Bacteria data for these rivers are collected by trained volunteers, and analyzed by Dr. Sally Hornor of Anne Arundel Community College as part of “Operation Clearwater” which was established by the Severn River Association. The test results are compared to the Environmental Protection Agency’s single test limit for safe swimming levels.
“One of the most frequent questions I am asked as Riverkeeper is ‘Is it safe to swim in the rivers?’” said Chris Trumbauer, West/Rhode Riverkeeper. “The Swim Guide provides a free, easy to use way for swimmers see the most recent bacteria data for their favorite swimming hole, and to make informed decisions about whether to swim,” he continued. “Swim Guide will help bring this important information to a much wider audience.”
“Dead zones and fish kills are a community concern, but few things capture the public’s attention like increased risks to human health,” said Erik Michelsen, Executive Director of South River Federation. “One of our foremost goals is to inform people of pollution levels that could sicken swimmers or their pets. This tool will make it easier for individuals to get that information wherever they are.”
Heading out of the Chesapeake Bay’s western shore? That’s no excuse to not stay safe when swimming! The Swim Guide has beach information for sites across the country and is adding new areas weekly. Download the Swim Guide now.