North Attleborough High School, North Attleborough, Massachusetts
Michael Ferguson, Daniel Perry, Jimmy Chhoeun, Christina Moses, Chelsea Jewett, Jenna Dean, Patrick Moriarty, Emily Hickey, Abigail Sprague, Griffin Fisher, Jesse Coreas, Amanda Root, Shannon Moore, Steve Retamoza, Joshua Mullaney, Sasha Soto, Brendan Emanuel
The purpose of examining Site A, Cushman Road, and Site B, Shady Pines, was to determine whether or not the water that flows through Abbott Run meets the Class A Water Standards set by the state of Massachusetts. This is crucial because the water that flows through Abbott Run eventually empties into Pawtucket, Rhode Island and they then use it for drinking water. So if the water quality standards were to fall below a Class A rating, then this would mean a contaminated drinking source for all of Pawtucket. This could invariably many complications and should be avoided at all costs.
Abbott Run is located in the western section of North Attleboro within the Blackstone River Watershed. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the west, Plainville to the north and Attleboro to the south. The watershed section in North Attleboro is approximately four square miles and land use is predominately single-family and residential, except for the Interstate 295 right of way segment. Two major transportation facilities include Interstate 295 and Route 120, which is a large source of runoff and contamination to the river. The section of the river that runs through North Attleboro passes through Chemawa Golf Course, an 18-hole course, on its way to Rhode Island, which can also cause runoff contamination.
The river was studied at two different sites, about a half-mile from each other, on October 29, 2008. Site A was just off Cushman Road, which was downstream from the Site B at Shady Pines. For the first year of the study, the class went to Hunt’s Bridge, as a second site in October of 2005. For the next three years though, the class has taken samples from Shady Pines instead, in October 2006, 2007, and most recently this year in 2008. The river passes through the Chemawa Golf Course between the two sites, so it is a key area to test for any signs of pollution.
To make sure that Abbott Run meets the Massachusetts Class A water standards, the river was tested for its pH, dissolved oxygen, specific conductivity, and temperature. Benthic macro-invertebrates were also collected at both sites to compare the amounts of organisms present from years before as well as to see if certain low tolerance organisms were missing. This data especially would indicate some type of pollution. Our class has kept a record of the amount of precipitation in the week preceding our study of the river, and depth and flow was determined.
The values for everything tested were similar at both sites and met the Class A standards. Site A was found to have an MGBI (Major Group Biotic Index) of 3.1, according to the Hilsenhoff Biotic Index and that is an “excellent” reading. It was also discovered that Site A had a slightly higher amount of nitrates in the water and a higher specific conductivity. Site B had an MGBI of 3.8, which is a “very good” reading on the scale. At both sites A and B Trichoptera Hydropsychidae, the net spinning caddis fly, had the highest number in our population survey. This is important because they have a higher tolerance to organic pollution.
By: Brendan Emanuel
North Attleborough High School, North Attleborough, Massachusetts (2009). Abbott Run Annual Study 2009. In Watershed Access Lab Projects. Project 68.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/wal_projects/68
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