How Has Land Use Affected the Water Quality of Fall Brook




Document Type



Middleborough High School, Middleborough, Massachusetts


Katherine Russell


Katie Bresse, Allie Cameron, Jess Cameron, Brittany Ellis, Andrea Muirhead, Kristian Rouskov, Molly Thompson


The purpose of this study was to find how land use affects the water quality of Fall Brook. Fall Brook runs from Tispaquin Pond to the Nemasket River, and five sites were tested for NO3-N and Reactive Phosphorous. These five sites began at Gibbs Road, and samples were taken directly from Tispaquin Pond, followed by Tispaquin Street. These two sites were surrounded by residential land, mostly developed in the 1980’s. Wareham Street was the third site, and it also is surrounded by residential areas and an active cranberry bog. Route 28 and Wood Street were the last two sites, both running through agricultural lands, which included cranberry bogs, a horse farm and cow farm.

The hypothesis was that the various uses of land would affect the water quality, thus producing spikes in NO3-N and Reactive Phosphorous. The grouping of land use also lent itself to our study— NO3-N spikes were expected in the areas of agricultural use because they contained fertilizers and animal wastes, while Reactive Phosphorous spikes were expected to come from the areas of residential use because they contain human and animal wastes, and laundry detergents from septic systems.

The results were as expected with spikes of Reactive Phosphorous at Gibbs, Tispaquin and Wareham. Spikes of NO3-N were found at Route 28 and Wood Street. However, these spikes were very limited, and it is believed that this is from low temperatures of water throughout the testing period, which would have affected the solubility of substances in the water. The testing period was from October to April, and it is recommended that in future studies, water samples should be taken in warmer weather in order to find more useful data.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

This document is currently not available here.


Project Location