The November Microbac results for nitrate, total phosphorus and fecal coliform the most important pollutant parameters we track have been received and added to our annual tracking table.
Stream flow on our sampling day (November 14th) was high due to the recent heavy rain and the water was cold. Despite the high dilution nitrate levels at the four main stem sampling locations were still high exceeding the water quality target 2 to 4 times. The lower Three Mile and Matfield locations were high as well (about 4 times the target).
The main stem had one total phosphorus target exceedance at Plain St in Taunton and was borderline at three other locations. The Town River while improved for nitrate was borderline for phosphorus.
Considering the high flows which can cause sewer system overflows and treatment plant bypasses the fecal coliform results looked generally good with the exception of a high level on the Town River at High St. in Bridgewater. This is encouraging.
Overall the results indicate that even at higher flow conditions the river carries enough treated effluent to exceed the instream targets used by MassDEP and EPA in Taunton River permitting. Middleboro recently completed their plant upgrade. As the other plants follow suit with upgrades to remove nitrogen and phosphorus over the next several years our monitoring will be important in tracking river nutrient levels.