The TRWA monitoring team sampled all 20 monitoring sites in April! The team did a great job in its first outing of the 2018 sampling season braving cold weather and high river flows.
Extreme weather is the hallmark of climate change and we have seen wet winters and springs with more intense storms for at least the last three years. On the flip side we have seen hotter dryer summers with droughts.
Our April data indicated high nitrate levels at a number of locations even though dilution of WWTP effluent is at its highest now with rivers near flood stage. If this year follows the pattern of 2016 and 2017 nitrate target violations will likely again be substantial from July through November peaking from August to October critical months for aquatic life in both the river and estuary.
Fortunately the watershed’s WWTPs are on compliance schedules to reduce nitrogen levels except Somerset (9+ years overdue) and Fall River (12+ years overdue). We hope EPA and MassDEP will reissue these remaining long overdue permits soon. We are also hopeful that municipalities and developers will do a better job addressing nutrients from stormwater discharges in the future.