The Mystic River Watershed received a grade of "D" for water quality conditions for the calendar year 2012 as part of the US EPA's annual Mystic River Report Card. The grade is based on bacterial contamination as measured by data collected by MyRWA’s Baseline Monitoring Program. This grade indicates that water quality met swimming standards 47 percent of the time, while boating standards were met 75 percent of the time.
When assessing water quality to assign a grade to the Mystic River Watershed, the EPA uses an average of overall percentages that met the state criteria for swimming and boating (for 2012, it is 61%), as well as qualitative criteria that are similar to those developed for the Charles River Initiative. Mystic River Watershed samples are taken throughout the entire watershed, including in tributaries before they discharge into the main stem of the river. It is important to note, that the data confirm the main stem of the Mystic River and the Mystic Lakes remain safe and rewarding destinations for recreational boating and for safe swimming in designated areas.
EkOngKar Singh Khalsa, Executive Director of the Mystic River Watershed Association, said, “Unfortunately this year’s grade reflects that in 2012, the Mystic River system as a whole was deeply compromised by bacterial contamination exacerbated by bouts of wet weather. The Mystic River Watershed Association will continue to gather essential water quality information to assist stakeholders and to support efficient deployment of local resources. It is hoped that future water quality data will soon reflect improvements in local environmental conditions, resulting from recent efforts to reduce sewage inputs and remove bacterial contamination from municipal stormwater discharges.”