DO NOT SWIM! Vermont waters are currently unsafe. Due to significant rain and flooding in most of Vermont on July 10th, with rains continuing on July 11th, currents are very strong. Also, most rivers are filled with debris, effluent, chemicals, fertilizers, etc. and are unsafe for swimming.
« All News

Post-flood Update: Our Rivers and Swimming Holes are NOT Safe for Swimming

July 19, 2023

Icon representing a swimmer with a line through it, indicating "No swimming."
Unfortunately, due to the recent flooding and ongoing rain it is NOT SAFE to swim in Vermont’s rivers and swimming holes right now – and we’re not yet sure when it will be. Rivers are high and currents are swift. The water is filled with debris, sewage, e.coli, propane, fertilizer, and any number of things you don’t want to swim in. We know this is hard news to swallow, especially when the temperatures are high. Vermont is still reeling from the effects of these floods and it will take some time for the state (and our rivers) to recover. In the meantime, we hope you can find some creative ways to keep cool while keeping safe in the coming weeks.

More info from the VT Department of Health:

“When is it safe to swim in lakes, rivers and swimming holes again?

The Health Department is advising to stay out of rivers and streams until the water is clear and calm and to use extra caution when swimming in lakes and ponds that have been affected by flooding.

Heavy rainfalls can create potentially dangerous conditions in swim holes, streams, rivers, and waterfalls. These conditions of high water or strong undercurrents can linger several days after a storm, so be sure to assess the water depth and flow before swimming or boating.

Generally, you should stay out of any body of water for at least 48 hours following a significant rain event. However, with the recent major flooding, along with several known combined sewer overflows (raw sewage dumped into waterbodies), extra debris, fuel and other chemicals, it will take extra time for water bodies to recover.

Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams are always susceptible to disease-causing microorganisms and chemicals from stormwater runoff and are especially susceptible after the widespread rainfall and flooding we have seen across the state. Swimming in these waters may result in health effects such as minor skin rashes, sore throats, diarrhea or more serious problems.

Additionally, in the coming days and weeks, watch for cyanobacteria since extra nutrients from the floodwater may cause cyanobacteria blooms.”

Stay in Touch

Subscribe and get the latest on VRC’s initiatives and events.