Water Quality Data – May 2014

Recent water quality data shows high bacteria levels during wet weather.

Our first sampling event of the year for our Citizen’s Water Monitoring Network (CWMN) program took place on May 29, 2014.  This program is currently the only source of up to date information regarding water quality in the freshwater sections of the Neponset Watershed.

The CWMN program is a volunteer based program, where our volunteers do all of the water sampling, all of the dissolved oxygen monitoring, and process all of the samples.  Samples are analyzed at the water quality laboratory located at the Deer Island Water Treatment facility operated by the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA). To ensure that the samples and data collected by our volunteers is of the highest quality, each volunteer goes through training approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) as well as the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

These volunteers help to monitor 41 locations throughout the watershed for a host of physical, chemical and biological factors to help give an idea of the current health of the river and to highlight potential problem areas.

Our results for bacteria for each of the sites are shown in the map below. Tabular results for this event can be viewed here, and the river status is available here.

CWMN Event Bacteria 05292014

Results for E. coli in the Neponset River Watershed 5/29/2014. Click to enlarge.


This map shows there were extremely high bacteria results at two of our sites: MEB001 and NER185.  MEB001, located on Meadow Brook in Norwood, has been identified as a “hot spot” of contamination from past years of sampling.  This is due to illicit connections into the storm drain system and leaking sewer underdrains in the vicinity of this brook. The Town of Norwood has been aware of this problem for some time and is still working towards a permanent fix to these issues as part of a new agreement between the town and EPA.  NER185 is located on the main stem of the Neponset, near storm drain outfalls from Boston neighborhoods of Mattapan and Hyde Park.

In the 72 hours before the sampling took place, the watershed received 0.44 inches of rain as measured at the Blue Hills Observatory in Milton. The bacteria results of this sampling event illustrate the effect that wet weather has on our watershed.  High bacteria results are directly correlated with rain events because runoff carries bacteria from roads, parking lots, and storm drains into the river and its tributaries.  Additionally, illicit connections from sanitary sewer to the storm drain system can carry untreated sewage into the river during both dry and wet weather.

NepRWA is working to help towns in our watershed address stormwater pollution through the Neponset Valley Stormwater Collaborative and other projects.  You can read more about the Collaborative here.

If you have any questions about the data, or want to become a CWMN Volunteer, please contact Environmental Engineer Sarah Bounty at 781-575-0354 x302 or bounty@neponset.org.

3 responses to “Water Quality Data – May 2014”

  1. […] Network (CWMN) has been off to a great start this season with successful sampling events in May, June, and July.  Our August sampling event is fast approaching and we are in need of a few […]

  2. Bill gallagher says:

    Is there any bacteria in the rain
    before it hits the ground???
    I.e. acid rain along with pollution a
    breeding ground for bacteria???

    Thank you

    • Ian Cooke says:

      I don’t think so. At least no E. coli bacteria, which is the one we measure as an indicator of potential pathogen pollution. Interesting question though!

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