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Braintree High School, Braintree, Massachusetts


Sandra Nystrom


David Morrissey, Katie Ponder, Brian Wilson, Elton Wong


This water quality study was conducted on the Farm River in Braintree, Massachusetts. The Farm River is classified as a Class B, Warm Water Fisheries River. The river drains an area of 7.9 square miles and is part of the Fore River Watershed (a sub watershed of the Boston Basin), which includes parts of eight surrounding cities and towns. It is a 2.7 mile segment that originates from an outlet of the Great Pond in the Blue Hills of Braintree. At the Braintree Golf Course, it joins with the Cochato River to form the headwaters of the Monatiquot.

During the summer months, more than 80% of water may be pumped from the Farm River to the Richardi Reservoir and then to Great Pond to be used by the Water and Sewer Department. This could significantly reduce the flow and impact the water quality.

Two sampling sites were chosen; site A was downstream of Braintree Industrial Park and site B was located directly on the Braintree Golf Course. Our goals were to determine the general water quality of the Farm River as it flows through this industrialized, recreational area of Braintree at the end of the summer and the end of winter. Our study focused mainly on determining the water chemistry, nutrient concentrations, and macro invertebrate prevalence at these two sites.

Site A, located in the woods behind Hollingsworth Field, did not appear to have degraded water chemistry at the end of the summer, nor did it show excess amount of nutrients (samples were taken during a dry period), but there was an interesting nitrate peak between 2:00 and 6:00 p.m. We also discovered a severely impacted macro invertebrate community. This finding may be a result of an industrial source upstream that was not detected during our study.

We concluded that the water at Site B, the Golf Course, was negatively impacted. This was most likely a result of excess nutrient runoff, which resulted in increased water plant growth. The excess of water plants appeared to seriously impact the water chemistry and macro invertebrate community. The water chemistry recovered during the winter months when plant growth was reduced. Both sites had a decreased acidity level at the end of the winter, most likely a result of snow runoff.

Of particular interest was that both sites showed a peak of nitrate concentration from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. in October and March. This phenomenon will be researched in future studies. Future studies of water chemistry, nutrient concentrations, and macro invertebrate communities should also be repeated during the same times as well as during the summer.

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.


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