May Monitoring for Nitrate, Total Phosphorus and Bacteria (Enterococci) Posted

The May monitoring results for nitrate, total phosphorus and bacteria (enterococci) are posted on our website. The sample collection by our volunteer sampling team members and the sample processing by our Veolia lab partners was perfect! A big thank you for a great team effort! The fact that we have successfully adapted our monitoring program to the MassDEP’s suggested Quality Assurance procedures (multiple duplicates and blanks as well as a new bacteria indicator organism) is a real accomplishment.
In May we sampled in drizzly weather after a night of rain and at very high river flow. It will be interesting to see how these results compare to summer samples during dry conditions and low river flow.
In May despite very high dilution we still saw somewhat elevated nitrate levels in the Matfield River and our most upstream main stem Taunton River locations. Similarly these were our highest total phosphorus measurement locations.
The most interesting results are the bacteria enterococci results which violate the Massachusetts Water Quality Criterion, 61 colonies per 100 ml at all but one of our sampling locations. The elevated enterococci levels measured may have been caused by stormwater runoff from the previous night’s rain. Bacteria levels measured with the state’s new enterococci indicator during normal dry summer conditions will be something to watch as the sampling season progresses.
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